In Memoriam:


Mario Cuomo died of heart failure in January 1, 2015. He was the kind of man I’ve come to respect: he was articulate, and he was willing to give himself over to actual service in the advancement of the causes of humanity, and to put soul, passion, and hard work into it. I find myself wondering what he had to say and do about the current state of disaffection running through today’s right wing. He served New York as its 52nd Governor for three terms, from 1983 to 1994. From 1979 to 1982, he was Lieutenant Governor, and from 1975 to 1978, Secretary of State. In other words, he served at the pleasure of the state of New York, which was his home. He lost his fourth term as Governor to Republican George Pataki. He was one of many Democrats who were swept out of office in what became known as the 1994 rabid (my word) “Republican Revolution” against Clinton. In retrospect, that period may have set the example for how rabid Republicans refused to support anything President Obama wanted, primarily it seemed, because he had the audacity to be President while Black.

Mario Cuomo created a legacy of caring about the issues that included the neediest and those at risk. He vetoed several bills that would have reestablished capital punishment in New York State, began the "Decade of the Child," which created health care and educational programs to insure that New York children would have a fair shake. He created the first program in the country with both environmental protection and energy conservation goals. His appointments of judges to the State Appeals Court included the first two female judges, the first African-American judge, and the first Hispanic judge to sit on that court.

Cuomo declined to run for President, but he made history in 1984 with his Keynote Address to the Democratic Convention, when he spoke out to President Reagan, who called this country “a shining city on a hill." He told the silent audience “…not everyone is sharing in this city's splendor and glory. A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there's another city; there's another part to the shining the city; the part where some people can't pay their mortgages, and most young people can't afford one; where students can't afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.”

From left to right: Jean Cabut, 77, known as Cabut ~ staff cartoonist and shareholder at Charlie Hebdo; Stéphane Charbonnier, 47, known as Charb ~ cartoonist; Philippe Honoré, 73, known by the pen-name Honoré ~ cartoonist and long-time staff member; Bernard Verlhac, 57, known as Tignous ~ cartoonist & member of Cartoonists for Peace; 
Georges Wolinski, 80, known for his cartoons spoofing politics and sexuality

On the morning of 7 January, 2015, at about 11:30 local time in Paris, shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for Allah is greatest!) accompanied two masked gunmen brandishing assault weapons as they made their forced entry into the offices of Charlie Hebdo, an irreverent primarily secular publication and shot staff members including cartoonists. They got off approximately 50 shots, killing eleven people and continued to create victims, including a French police officer. The violence did not end there, as five other civilians were killed and eleven others wounded in the aftermath of related shootings that followed in the Île-de-France region.

Charlie Hebdo articles and cartoons make Charlie pretty much of an equal opportunity insulter. They harbor no reluctance to holding an ardent leftist, sometimes anti-religious tone. They have played on themes going after points of view held by Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. Let’s just say that depictions of the Profit Muhammad, which some Muslims consider an affront to the Profit, were a bridge too far for the terrorists who committed the carnage at Charlie Hebdo and at a Kosher grocery.

The website of Charlie Hebdo went offline shortly after the shooting. When it returned, it bore the legend “Je suis Charlie” in white letters on a black background. As early, early, early morning crept into New York on the day of the event, I awoke with the beginnings of a cold and ugly headache. Unable to breathe or return to sleep, I took Excedrin for my head, vitamin C and something herbal to thwart the cold, and, being a news junkie, I switched on CNN and crawled back into bed. By then the deed was done. I had a free day so I let the magnitude of the death and assaults on the freedom of speech and the press sink in. I looked up the magazine and saw that yes, some of the work was indeed offensive. I found some really smart work, and some that crossed the line. But I was clear that the way to deal with over the line or an insult to my religion would be a Letter to the Editor, not violence and murder.

I love Paris and abhor the acts that were committed there, so I decided it would have to go into Don’t Just Stand There. Do Something. Before I began I perused sites to see what others were saying, and I found that the BBC online offered many photos, good information, and videos. The tears I shed fed my cold, but the mourning and solidarity around the globe lifted my spirits and love of freedom, and set me thinking about boundaries in journalism. I’m still thinking about it.

What We Can Do:
  1. What do you think & feel about Charlie’s approach? I would love to know.
  2. Check out the BBC coverage.
  3. Check the Charlie Hebdo website.
  4. What do you think of the cartoon of the Profit with a tear,
    by the colleagues of the slain?
  5. Please comment here or have a discussion with friends about the issues involved.


I know that there must be a few Republicans out there who are thrilled that Mitt Romney wants to throw his hat in the ring again. But one does have to wonder if it isn’t time to quote Albert Einstein who said, “The true definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” In case the probability of breaking such a losing streak doesn’t convince people that a vote for Romney in the primary might be a wasted vote, then maybe the following words, right form the would-be candidate’s mouth, will remind America of the quality of his thinking and his peculiar grasp on reality.
  1. "Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend."
  2. "When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no–and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem."
  3. "I went to a number of women's groups and said 'Can you help us find folks?' and they brought us whole binders full of women."
  4. "I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love."
  5. "Tomorrow we begin a new tomorrow."
  6. "PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air."
I’m sure you’ve gotten my point even without his 47%, which is likely seared in many memories

What We Can Do:

  1. Perhaps it would be a good idea to root for and encourage Romney. He would be an ideal candidate for someone with common sense and progressive views to run against.
  2. That’s all folks!

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