Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break - Steel Drum Party

by Nomad

Since it has been a fairly hellish year, I would like to close down 2018 on an upbeat and celebratory note. For that, I put together this collection of tunes played on the steel drums.
Hope it lightens your mood as we prepare to bid farewell to the year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Lyudmila Alexeyeva's Final Speech

by Nomad

A few days before her death on 8 December, 91-year-old human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva sent her along a message to the members of the Moscow Helsinki Group. The organization was originally established in 1976 to monitor Soviet compliance with the Helsinki Accords. After being shut down after the fall of the Soviet Union, it was revived in the 1990s and continues to operate in Russia today.

In her letter, she reflected on the human rights movement in Russia and offered a few words of advice to the younger generations.  

Monday, December 24, 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018

On the Question of Indictments

by Nomad

In a poll this week, out of all the choices, the majority of NP readers predicted that Trump would be indicted and removed from office. Nearly half of all respondents said that Trump would either be indicted (and forced to resign or impeached by Congress).
As with most things tainted by politics, it's unfortunately not quite as cut and dry as that.

The Indictment Immunity Debate

The scandal-tortured Trump presidency has brought up a fundamental legal question. Outside of the constitutional process, namely, impeachment, can the president be held legally accountable while he is in office? Can he be indicted for crimes?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Poll: How will the Trump Presidency End?

by Nomad

Time for a test of your prophetic abilities. In the graphic below, you will find a few possible outcomes for President Trump. Click on the button of the scenario which you think most likely.
(Note: One vote per person and choose carefully. There's no way to erase your vote.  )

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break - In Memory of Nancy Wilson

by Nomad

This week marked the passing of legendary jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson. She was 81.

With a career that spanned over a half century,  Wilson recorded more than seventy albums and won three Grammy Awards for her recordings.
According to her biography:
She was second only to the Beatles in sales, and her albums outsold those of Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and the Beach Boys.
What a lot of people don't know is that Wilson was also an activist for civil rights in the 1960s. At a time when activism could mean the end of a promising career, Wilson participated in the 1965 Selma march.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Masha Gessen: The Decline of Democratic Values in Russia is a Warning to the World

by Nomad

Never heard of Masha Gessen?

This Russian-American journalist has an important message for liberal democracies around the world.
Examine what happened in Russia and never think it can't happen in your own country.

A Touch of Irony in St. Petersburg

The other day I was reading the headlines in The Moscow Times and I saw an item that seemed to come straight from the days of the Soviet Empire. That was a time when the Kremlin attempted to muzzle writers and suppress their works.

Reportedly, customs officials in St. Petersburg stopped a best-selling book (ordered through Amazon) entry. It would, it was explained, require that the buyer, human rights lawyer Sergei Golubok, provide a written assurance that the material was not extremist in nature.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break- Tribute to John Lennon

by Nomad


Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of ex-Beatle John Lennon. It is just impossible for me to believe that 38 years have passed since that senseless murder outside the Dakota Apartment Building on 72nd and Central Park West.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Truth about Food Stamps and the Right to Access to Affordable Food

by Nomad

A Kentucky Congressman's tweet about food stamps demonstrates how detached the GOP is when it comes to the economic realities of hunger in America.

The Right to Affordable Food

The other day, I read that a Republican congressman from Kentucky, Thomas Massie, facetiously asked, if affordable healthcare is a right, whether Americans should also have a right to food.

The tweet was, our source tells us, "an attempt to combat criticism from Democrats of conservative lawmakers’ proposals to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)."
Even though Massie probably didn't realize it, he brings up a good point. Why shouldn't affordable food for all Americans be a right in the world's richest countries? Can't we as a nation afford to feed our poor?

And, while we're at it, why not a right to have access to clean water or clean air? Safe working conditions and job security?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Piecing Together the Trump-Russian Conspiracy Puzzle

by Nomad

Like an immense jigsaw puzzle, the full picture of the Trump-Russian conspiracy has often been hard to view in its entirety. There's a good reason for that. No doubt about it, it's extremely complex. But more than that, the relationship and the importance of each piece of evidence keep changing.
What seems inexplicable today can suddenly seem critical tomorrow. For an amateur investigator trying to understand what took place, it is a daunting task.
We saw that this week when Trump's former lawyer (and problem-solver) appeared in court.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break- Chill Mix

by Nomad

Time to kick back and mull over the events of the past week and to try and speculate what's to come. Watching the president helpless thrash and flail as the ship of state slowly begins to right itself is, in a strange way, entertaining and reassuring.

This week's Sanity Sunday Musical break is a pretty random mix of relaxing "chill" tunes. Hope you enjoy the selection.