HBO movie goes “All the way”

Political junkies take note.

If you subscribe to HBO in any form, or can beg or borrow access from a friend, be sure to watch the HBO movie, “All the way.”

It’s a movie adaptation of Seattle playwright Robert Schenkkan’s stage play which follows Lyndon Baines Johnson through the intense period from the beginning of his presidency in November 1963 through the 1964 election, where “All the way with LBJ” was the Democratic candidate’s campaign theme.

Count me on the side of critics who called Bryan Cranston’s depiction of LBJ “mesmerizing.”

We stumbled on the movie by accident a few nights ago while looking for something to watch, and were unaware of all the press attention it received following its debut earlier this year.

If you lived through those years back in the 1960s, it’s powerful and disturbing. If you’re way too young for that, it’s a pretty close-to-real-life look behind the scenes of hardball politics.

“Politics is war by other means,” LBJ muses at one point. Then he quickly circles back. “Politics is war.” Period.

I’ve read several of the books about LBJ, including a couple of valumes of Robert Caro’s intimate portrait of the man and his career, and collections of the secret White House tapes compiled by historian Michael Beschloss. I thought “All the way” captured much of what’s there in the historical record, and made it very human.

Johnson was being hit by competing political forces on all sides, the growing civil rights movement, the overt racism of the formerly solid Democratic South, a conservative challenge by GOP candidate Barry Goldwater, a deteriorating political and situation in Southeast Asia. We watch as he alternatively cajoles, bluffs, arm twists, horse trades, and outright bullies those who stand in his way, resorting to temper tantrums where necessary.

And there were great performances by those playing the other characters, from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey and Georgia’s Richard Russell.

Good entertainment and engrossing history at the same time.

Monday miscellany

I decided to start the week by checking out a few blogs that I haven’t visited for a while. Oooh, there’s lots of good stuff out there waiting to be seen.

Horsesass.org is based in Washington State and has a caustic view of the state’s politics and, by extension, the national scene.

Check out its Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!, featuring links to a wide variety of items.

Buried down the list is this one: Democratic National Convention–A bad lip reading. Lots of fun here!

I then wandered over to Seattle-based Crosscut.com, which bills itself as “news of the great nearby.”

Several of the current stories sound very similar.

Examples:

Why huge cost overruns are so common in Seattle.”

Homeless in Seattle: The roots of a crisis.

As Seattle booms, we’re trashing our history.

Finally, I stopped by Crooks And Liars. Always interesting.

For example, here’s one featured story: “Memo To News Media: Consumers Crave Truth, Not Balance.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Our most popular clips and posts are not ones where we simply highlight and correct lies people tell on television. Those gain attention for sure, but they’re not the ones that people talk about, share, and appreciate.

Our most popular clips are the ones where the host or journalist takes on the lie head-on. Like when CNN’s Brianna Keilar refused to allow Trump surrogate and lawyer Michael Cohen bully her.

CNN reporter Kate Bolduan’s emotional report on the Syrian boy, Omran, whose family home was devastated by bombs was a moment of truth we all needed to see.

MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid had several moments this week. The video at the top where she told the Trump pastor he couldn’t come on her show and lie was a great one. Or when Trump surrogate Steve Cortes found out she doesn’t suffer fools lightly, as did Jack Kingston on Friday. Earlier last week, she also let Cortes have it for whining about “liberal media.”

Anyway, it’s a good way to start a week!

Thanks for sharing a graceful saga

A special shout-out to Jennifer and Ryan Ozawa, who are once again breaking new ground by sharing Jenn’s experience with a recurrence of breast cancer.

Four years ago, they created Jen’s Cancer Blog. It not only documented her fight with the disease, but gathered links to useful resources to assist others.

Earlier this month, after a long hiatus, a new post appeared.

“Season 2, Episode 1.”

The first time, cancer was scary because we had no idea what was coming. This time, it’s scary because we do.

Somehow, while coping with the cancer news, this amazing couple launched a daughter into a college career at UH Hilo, which Ryan somehow found time to write eloquently about in an essay posted to Medium.com.

Thanks to you both for sharing your story and your strength.

Cancer is becoming an all too familiar presence in our family these days as well, and your poise in facing the future is hopefully contagious.

Ethics Commission looks at free passes to World Conservation Congress

The State Ethics Commission issued a letter this week containing “guidance on acceptance of passes to the World Conservation Congress.”

The letter is posted on the commission’s website.

When I saw the link, I wondered whether this would be another strict and literal interpretation of the ethics code that would question or put limits on the acceptance of free passes.

It seems that legislators, along with certain state officials and employees, have been offered various passes to attend part or all of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) World Conservation Congress (“WCC”) events during the first part of September. The passes range from 1-day passes, to passes valid for the entire 10 day event.

Those being offered the ten day passes, valued at $900, include “the Senate president; the chairs of the Senate committees on Tourism and International Affairs, and Water, Land, and Agriculture; the House speaker; and the chairs of the House committees on Tourism, and Water and Land.”

I expected, based on guidance on other matters over the past few years, that the analysis would then review the gift laws and their application to such affairs, looking for potential questions that might be raised.

Instead, the commission staff disposed of the issue in a simple paragraph.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission recognizes the importance to the State in hosting the WCC. The Commission views the attendance by the legislators and state officials and employees described above as beneficial to the interests of the State. The Commission notes that the WCC appears to be a joint project between the State of Hawaii and the IUCN and, as such, the State has recognized that its interests are served by promoting the WCC. Consequently, the Commission does not believe that the acceptance of the passes as described above is prohibited by the State Ethics Code, Hawaii Revised Statutes chapter 84.

I found this refreshing. No need to delve into the specific situation of the positions of each of those receiving passes and questioning whether or not the “gift” would be appropriate. No limiting their participation to the specific parts of the program most relevant to their position or job. Simply a recognition that the conference as a whole benefits the state and its officials and employees as well.

It’s too early to say whether this could signal that the commission will be approaching more issues in this manner, but we can hope.

Thank Goodness it’s Feline Friday!

Dinner is servedWelcome to this week’s Feline Friday!

Today’s featured photo shows our dining table as dinner was served one night earlier this week.

Romeo has set himself up closest to my plate. The first part of the meal features my attempts to defend against Romeo’s turbo paw, which aims at sweeping edible bits from my plate over into his waiting mouth. It’s a battle, but after a few rounds he finally understands that it’s necessary to wait and accept things that are offered.

Duke hangs back a bit, not because of a lack of interest but because he’s a bit more polite.

Annie doesn’t join the tabletop mayhem very often, but when she does, she is extremely polite.

Other than this scene, it’s been another relatively uneventful week. No vet visits. No medical issues.

We did see a neighbor’s cat stopping for some sun in our back yard. Luckily Romeo wan’t on guard at that point, so there were no dramatics. Now that our cats have gotten used to living 100% indoors, I hate to remind them that there’s territory out there they would formerly have fought to defend.

–> Click here to see all of today’s Friday Felines!