Archive for Families

Little Donald Who Cried, “No Fair!”

To Trump’s True Believers (à la Eric Hoffer) we have no need to analyze him. Pundits and media types disagree; they rake over his bullying, lying, racism, sexism, hyper-litigiousness, and extreme reactions to criticism.

I am struck instead and call him out as a mommy’s boy. Viewed as such, Donald Trump comes into focus.

While many have noted that his father urged him to leverage the family fortune and that he could be a relative king in NYC, we don’t hear much of Mary MacLeod Trump, Fred’s wife and mother of their five. She was a Scottish emigrant who start U.S. life as a maid. While Fred was off developing real estate and getting rich, she was half philanthropist and half mom.

I rant in what I call my Romney Rexall psychology. Donny-poo came into particularly sharp focus as a mommy’s boy since he started his thudding stumbles toward’s the Presidency. He has decades of history whining about how unfair anything is that doesn’t give him what he wants. His thousands of legal filings are rife with official complaints against one judge after another who did not rule in his favor.

Lately, he’s compounded that and perhaps gone too far openly carping about the judge in the class-action suit against him for fraud related to Trump University. He combines his whining about “fairness” with his nativism and pure racism in alleging the judge cannot be “fair’ because his is “Mexican” and “I’m going to build a wall.”

What he see is the mommy’s boy. Whatever Donny wants he deserves and must have. Anything else is not fair.

I think back to my sons and their friends in preschool. At three or four, they had a firm grasp on the idea of we-have-the-same. The corollary runs along the line of “Fred got two cookies and I only got one. No fair!” When mommy’s special boy doesn’t get exactly what he wants, he acts out as any four-year-old.

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Jessica Berson on Exotic Dancing Podcast

jessicaYou likely don’t know much about exotic dancing or dance studies. Reading guest Jessica Berson’s <>The Naked Result: How Exotic Dance Became Big Business will fix that.

She came on to discuss her book, what goes on in private dances as well as on stage, and a lot more. Click below to hear the personal, the business, the history, and surprising (to me) analysis of the meanings of the dancing. We also spoke about how dancers and customers interact and what they get from each other.

She teaches dance studies at Yale and has at other august institutions. She is professorial type and dancer, one who got the most out of her year on stage and in front of single clients. Her book ended up at once academic and highly readable, concentrated on exotic dancing, but from its many angles. While it has personal vignettes, it is not yet another stripper memoir as Berson is quick to note.

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Rep. Liz Malia Dec. 11th

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 PM Eastern when MA Rep. Liz Malia is the guest. She is co-chair of the Joint Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee. We’ll talk her recent big bill on prescription and other drug abuse. She also advocates for mental health parity.

If you can listen in live, go here then. Afterward to can hear the show or download it at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.


Reset of Public Schools Podcast

This is the moment, a second chance for change in a short time, for foundering Boston Public Schools, according to John Connolly. He joined came on today to talk about the Quality Choice Plan.

The first chance was what he called “a swing and a miss,” that brought a pretty reactionary teachers-union contract.

That new plan is either a sweeping vision for much needed reform or a renegade assault on business as usual replete with incremental efforts at the edges. He and the Globe and I among many others think of it as the former. He and I share a devotion to public education, including putting our kids in BPS. No one I know of matches his passion for the schools, fitting as he has chaired the City Council’s Education Committee for over three years.

He’s the point man for this plan, which he fine tuned with another Councilor (Matt O’Malley) and four MA Reps (Linda Dorcena Forry, Nick Collins, Ed Coppinger, and Russell Holmes). As he has in Council, he doesn’t mind taking any heat, sharing any plaudits, and meeting with everyone who can and wants to make big improvements.

Listen in as we describe the plan’s big ideas. Do check the link up top for the 10-page plan. It is unlike the typical timid proposals for upgrading urban school systems. He does touch on such high points as 16 citywide schools with dual-language and other concentrations, guaranteed K2 seats on one of the four schools closest to home, annual teacher and principal evaluations, and most of all, a strong push for innovation status schools. Those would follow the model of the successful turnarounds like the Trotter. John describes the components.

Of course, the talks about some of the pending conflicts. When I attended the press conference announcing the plan, he alluded to such essentials as longer school days — an anathema to the local teachers’ union, which just set a four-year contract. We didn’t really get into another broad area, the not-invented-here syndrome. He did mention that the School Committee leans toward its incremental, modest student-assignment proposal. He’d rather see the Quality Choice Plan or at least a hybrid with its key features.

Listen in to hear him on the plan.

icon for podpress  Connolly on BPS [30:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Bikes v. Cars Podcast

A pedals-on scholar of transportation and cycling, Steven Miller, joined us to talk cyclists versus drivers, past, present and future. Among his many related credentials (check the link for a sketch) he founded Hub on Wheels, sits on the MBTA and Cambridge bicycle advisory boards, and is on the board of Livable Streets, where he also writes the related blog.

We spoke of the in-progress transformation of Boston from a bike-hostile city toward a friendlier, safer, quieter, healthier one. On the way has been considerable culture shock. Despite the history of bikes being on the streets before cars, cyclists are seen as the interlopers.

Listen in as Miller suggests who is really bike hostile. He also addresses such changes as decreases in miles driven annually, in age at first acquiring a car, as well as increases in number of cyclists. He’s been involved in and observed the myriad changes in the Boston area.

He discusses the E’s that will make travel more pleasant and safer for everyone — Encouraging more cycling (health, noise, pollution, congestion benefits), Engineering (bike lanes, cycle tracks and more), Enforcement (of traffic rules for everyone), Education (down to public schools), and Equity (making sure low-income areas also have affordable access to cycles and cycling). Click below to hear the details.

Miller believes as did the Boston and Cambridge cycling program managers of Boston and Cambridge that the more cyclists on the road the better and safer conditions will be. Drivers will be aware of sharing the road, at a minimum.

To the question of whether cyclists tend to be renegades and crazy folk, Miller, a cyclist as well as driver, says they tend not to be any better or worse than motorists. He says it’s always easier to blame other people, so drivers do that as well.

Listen in as we talk futures, including possible legislation to speed traffic while keeping cyclists safe and maybe even requirements that all cyclists use flashing front and back lights as well as side-view mirrors.

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Elephant Leavings Podcast

Ryan and Mike has a good time recapping the GOP doings in Tampa. Rather, the non-doings, as it was all too plain that the Republicans abjectly failed to provide any reason to vote for Romney/Ryan instead of against Obama/Biden. The speakers, including the candidates, gave no details, not specifics, no proposals and no plans to better the country and its economy.

Moreover, even the Missus could not humanize the not-very-human Mitt. We look forward to the contrast with this week’s Dem speakers who are certain to offer a real path and speak without the lies and pretense we heard this past week.

Ryan suggests that the Dems should take the weak attack the Tampa folk left with, the question that worked in another election, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago.” Unfortunately for the Republicans, the vast majority of Americans can only say yes. They’d like more, faster, but yes.

Alas for the elephant herd, the fringe GOP platform suddenly is obvious and real. In lieu of any plans and proposals, voters can only look to the stated objectives of the party. They would scare all but the most extreme.

Teeing off of one of Mike’s friend’s view, they discussed what happens if Romney loses. Ryan backed the friend in predicting an even worse purge of moderates. Mike figures it would immediately lead to another soul (if you pardon that word here) searching by the party.

Listen in as we talk about what was and was not in the week that kind of was.

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David Kravitz on ACA Podcast

How ’bout that Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. health reform or in the vernacular ObamaCare)? Our particularly savvy guest today was David Kravitz. He is a founder of the BlueMassGroup — as a disclaimer, Ryan, Lynne and Mike have all participated there for many years. Vocationally, he is an accomplished and knowledgeable attorney. Avocationally and coincidentally, he is an opera singer.

We had a few questions, which led David into both background and speculation, in both of which he was comfortable. He walked us through the history and contrasts with the Massachusetts version of health reform. He jumped right into his thoughts first on why the SCOTUS could use Congressional taxing powers to justify the ACA and second why it chose not to (although it could have) used its interstate-commerce authority. Listen in if you had questions about the reasoning.

He dealt with the individual mandate in detail. He spoke to the part of the ACA ruling that muddled the Medicaid expansion…including his thoughts on whether the currently blustering set of conservative governors will really turn down the many federal millions when push comes to shove.

Click below to listen in to his insights on why the SCOTUS rules and what the divisions this term may mean for their collegiality. He also expressed views on what’s next for health care reform and how November’s election will affect that.

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Joe Mullin Podcast

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS has been Joe Mullin’s phrase on his website and throughout his run for 3rd Middlesx MA Senate. He differentiates himself from the field particularly in having driven the Clock Tower Place project in Maynard that now has over 90 tenants and 2,500 employees in the former HQ of DEC.

listen in as he describes his diverse business and political experiences. He speaks to his support for single-payer health care, graduated taxes to ease the burdens on the middle classes, and evev to reassignment of debt from mass transit.

This show completes the five Dems running for the seat. Mara Dolan was the first, Mike Barrett the second, Joe Kearns Goodwin the third, and the most recent was with Alex Buck.

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Joe Mullin on His MA Sen. Run

Joe Mullin from Weston details his economic advancement plans in next week’s show. He is running for the 3rd Middlesex MA Senate seat vacated by Susan Fargo.

If you can join us live, click here at 2:30 PM Eastern, Tuesday, May 29th. Afterward, his show will be there, back here on Left Ahead and on our iTunes pages.

He came from working-class immigrants through Harvard on scholarship and into a successful career. He’ll discuss his understanding of worker and family struggles and aspirations. He’ll describe his jobs-oriented aims and platform.

Mullin completes shows with the five Dems running for the seat. Mara Dolan was the first, Mike Barrett the second, Joe Kearns Goodwin the third, and the most recent was with Alex Buck.


Tag Team Pundits Podcast

Ryan and Mike were at elections 2012 again. We recapped the more inane blunders of the GOP, in Congress as well as Mitt Romney. We left the state legislatures and governors alone this week.

Ryan believes voters will start to pay attention a few weeks before the general election. He is sanguine enough to think Dems will retain the Senate and maybe pick up a few in the House. He also thinks that Warren will top Brown in a tight race.

Mike remains befuddled that so many voters seem willing to be fabulists and fantasists. The GOP has done so much to alienate whole classes of voters — middle class, poor, students, women, Latinos and on and on. Yet, many voters seem to want to accept demonstrably false claims, such as a mythical class of “job creator” companies and rich individuals who will, any day now, actually start helping our economy despite their failure to do so to date.

This harks back to the Reagan fantasies of trickle-down economics and guns-and-butter national expenditures based on an endless growth spiral that didn’t and couldn’t happen. Mike finds dreams nice, but no way to choose Presidents.

icon for podpress  Tag Team Pundits [29:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download