DID TRUMP SOLVE THE ‘BIRTHER’ ISSUE?

July 29, 2016

5 years ago, Neil posted this about Trump.

Exchange

As he arrived to campaign in New Hampshire this morning, Donald Trump learned, to his delight, that President Obama has revealed his original birth certificate.

Imm ediately the Donald took credit for resolving the ‘birther’ issue when nobody else could:  “Today, I’m  very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished soething that nobody else  has been able to accomplish.  I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a keyrole in hopefull getting rid of this issue.”

Then Trump jumped into his black stretch limousine and headed off into the wilds of  New Hampshire to test the waters for a run to the presidency.

But Trump has a couple of other thingss to tie to the president.

Trump believes On bama’s first best-selling book was written by a ghost writer.

Trump also says that early in his career, Obama was a poor student with failing grades.

So what kind of  strings did…

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ARE THE REPUBLICANS NUTS?

July 24, 2016

More of Neil’s thoughts on American politics

Exchange

Today a frustrated President Obama summoned congressional leaders to the White House for a drop-dead meeting on the debt ceiling.   Twice now Speaker Boehner has double-crossed  the President by breaking off the talks without any warning.  It is clear now the GOP is more interested in presidential politics than they are in the fiscal health of the nation.

In some ways this whole debt-ceiling debate is as phony as a three-doller bill.  Get this.  The money they are talking about has already been spent.  Let me explain.  Congressional spending authority is like running up credit car debt.  The money has already been spent, even before you get the bill.  Refusing to raise the debt ceiling is equivalent to deciding that y ou’d rather not pay the bill.

So for Congress to refuse to raise the debt ceiling is the exact opposite of fiscal [rudence; it is an act of dishonesty and…

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HAVE THE DEMOCRATS FOUND A WINNING TICKET?

July 23, 2016

Neil was thinking about American politics in this posting from five years ago.

Exchange

Yesterday there was a block-buster special election in one of the most conservative  House seats in New York State.  The seat has been rock-solid Republican.  Only three Democrats have been elected there in the last 150 years.  Astonishingly, yesterday the Democratic candidate, Kathy Hochul, defeated the GOP candidate, Jane Corwin.  The key issue was Paul Ryan;s GOP medicare plan in which Medicare as currently constituted would be replaced by a money-voucher system.  If the money ran out – tough!!   Hochul ran on the slogan: “The GOP will take away Granny’s medicare and put her on the street with a tin cup.”Today, Republicans are devestated.  Democrats are licking their chops.  The same kind of campaign, run all over the country, would be a winner in 2012.

It would also help propel Obama back into the White House.   Today the President is being lauded by the Queen in London and he is…

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Tuesday writing conversation: Ulster Folk Park

July 5, 2016

In May, we visited the Ulster Folk Park, just outside Omagh. This is a short clip of our visit to a rustic homestead.


From the other week we had this response from a reader:

I was reading your June 20th comment about the Irish immigration, Grosse-île and how it relates to what we see everyday on our little home screens and newspaper on “neilmckenty.com“. It seems that all genarations must get through such stories. I’m sending you a link on a musical I produces with the help of the three autors (all Quebec City production) last March. We presented the French and English version. There is a complete English version. We are proud of the result.

Guy Morisset

Catharine writes:

A thousand thanks for this amazing video about Grosse-Ile – I was close to tears watching it!

 

Tuesday Writing Conversation: some background on Polly book

June 27, 2016

Catharine McKenty wrote ‘Polly of Bridgewater Farm’ after she investigated her family history in Dromore, Northern Ireland. A key breakthrough was meeting a local historian, Florence Corey. Click below to hear Florence describe how she met Catharine.

Tuesday Writing Conversation: Grosse Île, Londonderry/Derry and Cabbagetown.

June 20, 2016

Catharine writes:

Today I sat in the window of a local restaurant, sipping apple juice as our local heat-wave increased in intensity. A father with his three children sat at a small table on the sidewalk just outside.

I could watch the adorable expressions on the faces of the two little boys facing me as they played their way through the quiet meal.

Then I found myself thinking of the suffering of children all over the world – why, oh why, I asked myself – why does this suffering continue?

It’s as though we are caught up in an ongoing cosmic battle with evil that can flare up at any time. And, in these circumstances, why is it that the words “Father, forgive them – they know not what they do,” seems the farthest thing from our minds? I found the tears welling up as I sat there, as though some old pain were healing itself without my being aware.

Those words would be a good mantra for me to cling to. Even when coping with the everyday frustrations that occur living within a close-knit community.

I think of my great-grandmother Jane Fleming who lost two small children and her baby girl on a terrible 31-day voyage from Ireland to Canada. Their twelve-year old daughter died at the Grosse-Ile quarantine on the Saint Lawrence river an hour downstream from Quebec city. My great-grandparents had fled in 1847 in the midst of that terrible famine that killed over a million starving Irish.

When I was in Ireland a month ago, a woman at the Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Londonderry/Derry told me ‘people still find it hard to talk about that period.’

And at the Centre were copies of ‘Polly of Bridgewater Farm’ laid out and now being used as part of the healing process after the community tensions of the last century in Northern Ireland.

In a way that is still mysterious to me that our family story is being used to bring hope in adversity. As I was writing, I had the sense that the story was coming through me, and onto the paper without my conscious control.

I was writing at a level I had never come close to earlier in my life.

And then the people who turned up at every stage of the writing to help me in whatever way was most needed.

Without Carol Moore-Ede’s help as my editor the book would never been completed in its present form, if ever. She brought all of her 40-year experience at the CBC, and as founder of the Cabbagetown-Regent Park Museum to bear, during a summer none of us will ever forget, along with her colleague Sally Gibson, the writer of books about the early days of Toronto.

Catharine Fleming McKenty

 

Orlando

June 12, 2016

12 noon Sunday June 12

I have just been watching the CBC news reports of the terrible mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. I can hardly believe that almost a year ago, I was in Orlando, on my way to the joyous 50th anniversary celebration of ‘Up With People‘.

I believe with all my heart that this is a time for all of us to reach out, to affirm people who are different from ourselves, to go beyond the instinctive tribalism that can so easily escalate.

I was immensely touched by the Islamic spiritual leader who spoke at a press conference in Orlando along with the mayor, FBI representatives and law enforcement officers. He asked that all of us, no matter from which religious background, come together in the face of this tragedy.

I believe those of us from an Irish background have something powerful to say at this moment, out of the suffering of the past, when all people all over the world are deciding whether to reach out, or whether to retreat into tribal units, with the ever-present possibility of violent conflict.

I would like to say more about this, but right now I find the tears welling up. I just heard a mother in Orlando wailing, not knowing whether her son is dead or alive. Also a young man who witnessed the horror and has lost faith in life.

I watched the joyous celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday in London, a city where Neil and I spent so many happy hours. What a courageous lady! Last night I stayed up to watch a gorgeous CBC program ‘The Queen at 90’, which I believe will be repeated tonight. I recommend it, whether you are a monarchist or not. We need moments like this to stop and celebrate.

And may I add the Irish people have shown we need large doses of laughter if we are going to survive.

Catharine Fleming McKenty, Westmount, Quebec

 

Tuesday writing conversation: the sycamore

June 6, 2016

This is Catharine back at the old family farm in May 2016.

Dromore 014

From Polly of Bridgewater Farm

The Sycamore

On days that did not go so well, like wash-day, Polly had a special friend she could count on, the old sycamore that stood between the farmhouse and the coach road.

That old sycamore. It had been battered by many a storm, becoming a little more gnarled and bent each time, but still it stood, offering shade in the summer and a bright flash of gold in the autumn. That first winter on the farm, when she was just four, she had watched the tree gradually turning black in the late afternoon sun, a proud silhouette, a friend in the dusk, the leaves of the highest branches tipped with light.

If you stared at the tree long enough, she thought, you might gradually become part of it, reaching up towards heaven through its leaves. That never quite happened, much to her regret. But one hot August evening the following year, she was sent to bed for some minor infraction. She was leaning out of one of the two gable windows of the loft as far as she dared. Joseph had attached a hinge to it so that his grandchildren might benefit from fresh air, their one free commodity.

The summer scents were intoxicating; clover, honey suckle and new- mown hay, with a dash of pungent manure. The grasshoppers and cicadas were in full throat. A fox barked in the distance; horses’ hooves clopped on the dry roadbed. The sycamore, her friend, loomed as a dark silhouette against the western sky. Away down the slope of the nearest field a single blackbird had begun his evening song. It floated clear and high above the hum of insects, so powerful that in the end Polly heard nothing else, leaning into the song as though she had become part of it, a melody half-heard, half-remembered, going on all around her, whose meaning she couldn’t quite grasp.

And the song ended, and the evening star came out, a moment she would remember for the rest of her life.


 

for more information visit pollyofbridgewaterfarm.com

Tuesday writing conversation: a conversation in Dublin

June 1, 2016

Michael Lane talks with Catharine McKenty about her book ‘Polly of Bridgewater Farm’ in the gardens at Trinity College, Dublin.

Tuesday Irish photo

May 24, 2016

Here we are at Trinity College in Dublin where we did a video conversation about John Main. The setting was appropriate because John Main had taught law at Trinity – and much later Neil McKenty’s biography of John Main was launched here.

Trinity College, Dublin

In front of a lilac in bloom in the quad at Trinity, from left to right: Rosemary and Richard Rice; Catharine McKenty; and Michael Lane.

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