Tag Archives: David Simon

I’m aghast about America, Part 4,323: Have you heard about this World Health/breastfeeding story? A daughter’s hilarious tweet from her Dad’s phone. And David Simon is blisteringly good about the Annapolis shooting

My good friend Jeff has said to me on numerous times in the past two years how he admires that I mostly manage to stay even-keel about all the atrocities being committed in the Trump administration.

Oh, of course I get extremely pissed about the separation of children from their families at the border, and the rampant corruption in this White House, and just how amazingly destructive Scott Pruitt was able to be in his short time as head of the EPA. But generally, I try really, really hard not go crazy about every horrible thing.

But this story I read in The New York Times Sunday just sent me over the edge. Maybe you heard about it, but likely not. It’s about a completely non-controversial resolution from the World Health Organization about encouraging breastfeeding. Here’s the lede to the story, and please, try to contain your outrage for a moment.

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.

The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States.

Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, most of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.

In the end, the Americans’ efforts were mostly unsuccessful. It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them.

THIS IS INSANE. So many parts of this story are horrible, but how about threatening military aid to Ecuador if they don’t withdraw the resolution? Really, that’s what we’re going to do over a freaking breastfeeding promotion resolution???

And the part about Russia introducing the measure and all of a sudden the U.S. not objecting is just too priceless. Gee, I wonder why Russia would somehow get favored but not Ecuador?

I mean, I just cannot deal with this. I said on Twitter right after I read this that it’s truly astonishing on how many issues the U.S. is now standing alone from the world. I mean…breast milk is now a reason to threaten another nation?

Good God, are there no depths to which our President and his administration will not sink, no issue on which they won’t bully? Just awful. And outrageous.

**Next up today, I thought this was pretty hilarious. Hockey writer Sean McIndoe Tweeted this the other day: “My daughter just asked to borrow my phone and when I got it back she had texted this to my wife, please advise.”

This is what young McIndoe texted:

Pretty freaking funny if you ask me. When a reader asked how old his daughter was, McIndoe replied “As old as she’s gonna get.”

**Finally today, I wanted to point you to a phenomenal piece of writing, a blistering screed, by the great David Simon, creator of ‘The Wire,” and many other wonderful things.

Simon is writing about the five people murdered at the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Maryland last week, and he is writing passionately and brilliantly about how just because this specific shooter had multiple motives to inflict violence against the newspaper doesn’t mean Donald Trump and the culture of hatred and poison toward the media he’s spewing isn’t toxic.

This is just an excerpt, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing (hat tip to loyal reader Sanford for first pointing me to this.) This section is right after Simon talked about the two dead who he knew personally:

These are the people I see when I think of the president declaring time and again for the villainy of journalists, or when I read the online screeds of his followers and devotees validating or excusing the insanity, stepping sideways from the pathetic spectacle of a United States President using his bully pulpit to, well, bully the free press of a republic.  It is a reach to claim — and so I have not — that Donald Trump contemplated all of what was to come when he began his prolonged campaign against the American press. I don’t think he imagined the blow landing on Rob Hiaasen or John McNamara or the other committed journalists murdered with them, or that the violence would explode at a community-based newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, or even that the reckoning for his adversaries in the press would be so lethal. I don’t think Donald Trump imagines very much at all. But premeditation is scarcely required for a verdict of gross negligence — for me to say, deliberately and dispassionately, that this empty, soulless man, in his unfitness for the high office, in his petty rancor and heedless verbiage, purposely created a climate that helped to murder my friends.

Fabulous, necessary stuff from David Simon.

The Trayvon Martin shooting sparks outrage (and great writing). Final Four field is set, and I’m not happy. And tennis gets some love on “60 Minutes”

It seems like every day, this Trayvon Martin shooting story gets bigger and bigger.
I’ve been as interested in it as anyone else, partly because I used to live very close to Sanford, Fla., where a 28-year-old white man named George Zimmerman shot and killed a 17-year-old African-American boy.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much outrage has been sparked, from professional sports teams like the Miami Heat (who took this fantastic photo, above, in support of Martin, who was wearing a hoodie when he was killed), to ordinary folks all across the country who are sick and tired of our gun culture, and racial prejudice, combining to cause so many innocent victims.

I think the police acted way too slowly in this case, and I fear that there are far too many people who seem to think any white male who, for any reason, feels threatened by a member of a minority is totally within their rights to start shooting.

I read two excellent articles about the case over the weekend that I wanted to share: Here’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts with his take on the case, and David Simon, the brilliant creator of “The Wire”, talking about our gun culture and how destructive it is.

**The Final Four is now set, and I don’t think many people had their brackets right on this one. Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville and Kentucky all survived their first four games and get to now play on the biggest stage in college basketball.
Some quick-hit thoughts on the weekend’s games:
— That Kentucky-Indiana game Friday night was so much fun to watch; easily the most entertaining game of the tournament. So many great athletes in the game, such excellent shooting, and really, really solid team basketball. It was a joy to all of us who love the sport.
— I dislike Rick Pitino quite a bit, and think his ethics leave much to be desired. But damn, the guy can coach his fanny off. This Louisville team in no way seemed good enough to reach the Final Four a few weeks ago, but they got hot at the right time, and they’ve got a masterful leader who knows how to get the most out of his players.
— Can’t wait until John Calipari has this Final Four appearance vacated for cheating, just like the last two times he’s gone there (with UMass and Memphis). The trifecta will be beautiful for this soul-less ethically-challenged jerk.
— I hate UNC as much as any Duke fan, but I did feel a little sorry for them that they lost their floor leader, Kendall Marshall, for the regionals due to injury. Carolina may have been the best team in the country, but I would’ve liked to have seen ’em get beat at full strength.
— Oh, to be in Kentucky this week. I can’t imagine much work will get done in the state. The Wildcats and Cardinals rivalry is pretty intense already, but now they’re playing each other in the Final Four? Two coaches that hate each other, two fan bases that hate each other, playing for a spot in the title game? It’ll be madness from Bowling Green to Paducah.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**Finally today, it’s rare that my beloved sport of tennis gets mainstream media attention. So I was thrilled to see current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has a remarkable life story and genuinely seems to be a good guy, profiled last night on “60 Minutes.” If you’re a big tennis fan, there’s not a lot of “breaking news” here, but it’s a great look at the Serbian star, where he came from, and how he’s become so dominant.

Well done, “60 Minutes.”

David Simon and “Treme” look pretty good. Tragedy in Poland. And the Rangers come oh so close.

There are some things in life that are impossible to overstate.

The size of Andre the Giant. The deliciousness of fresh-baked cornbread hot out of the oven.

And the greatness that was the TV show “The Wire.”

I’m not going to waste time and space preaching about “The Wire;” I’ve done that plenty already. What I will say is that since it was one of the greatest shows ever on TV, I’d watch just about anything its creator, David Simon does.

His new show, “Treme,” about post-Katrina New Orleans, finally debuted Sunday night. My verdict? Very solid. Confusing, because there are so many characters and they talk in basically a foreign language (just like with “The Wire,” I can tell I’m going to need closed captioning sometimes with “Treme.”

Sure I was confused at times, but it’s the pilot, so it should be confusing and not altogether clear what’s going on with the characters.

So far, I can tell you the music is great, the acting (with John Goodman, Wendell Pierce (Bunk from “the Wire”, and Steve Zahn, among others) is excellent, and there are lots of places for the story to go.

If David Simon filmed a man reading a phone book, I’d watch it. He’s that brilliant. But this is a little more exciting than that.

Check it out, HBO-havers. I’m already looking forward to episode 2.

**What an unbelievable tragic day for the people of Poland Sunday. If you missed the news, a plane carrying the President of the country, along with many top political leaders, crashed in Russia, and all 88 people aboard were killed.

Such a horrible, unfathomable thing. Can you imagine a whole nation’s political leadership wiped out in a plane crash? Just awful. What makes it worse, perhaps, is that they were on their way to a memorial for Polish officers killed by Soviets during World War II.

Just so awful.

**Finally, Look, I was due for a sports letdown. I fully admit that.

The Yanks won the World Series last fall. Duke won an improbable national championship last week, in a tournament where everything fell perfectly for them. The Jets came one game away from reaching the Super Bowl in January (and they traded for Steelers star Santonio Holmes late Sunday night; good God that was a steal!).

So when the New York Rangers, my beloved hockey team, made a great run the past few weesk to salvage their awful season and come within a game of making the playoffs, I should’ve known they would fail.

Still, to fail in such exruciating fashion … The Rangers and Flyers were tied in points heading into their game Sunday, and the winner would go to the playoffs. The loser goes home for the summer. The damn thing went to overtime, and then a shootout, before Philly prevailed.

Hate the Flyers. Hate ’em. Of all teams to lose to, I hate losing to only the Islanders more than the Flyers.

I can’t really complain, though. At least I can enjoy the NHL playoffs now without sweating out Rangers games.

The worst parent in the world, and 10 great minutes of “The Wire”

There are certain crime stories you read where you literally wonder, “What could that person possibly have been thinking?”

The kinds of cases where you think they should just skip the pre-trial hearings, the pleas, the trial, the judge, the jury, all of that, and just sentence the individual guilty immediately.

Because there are some things for which there is literally, no POSSIBLE excuse.

I present to you the story of Kiara Medlock and her mother, of Ozark, Arkansas. Seems Kiara, age 10 and all of 65 pounds, was wildly misbehaving on the night of Nov. 12, and her mother called the police.

Officer Dustin Bradshaw arrived at the scene, and when he wasn’t able to subdue Kiara, her mother allegedly told the officer to “tase her if you have to.” Which, after Kiara kicked him, Officer Bradshaw did.

The child was then handcuffed and taken to a youth shelter.

This is despicable by the adults here on so many levels. One, by the officer, who sees no other option when outweighing a child by oh, 100 pounds, then to TASE them? Two, by the mother, for suggesting to the officer that he send volts of electric shock into her daughter?

I’m sorry, I don’t care how violent or unruly the kid is, this is despicable. Check out the brief police report here.

**I came late to “The Wire”. Everyone told me the HBO show about drug dealers and cops was truly amazing, and I heard them and didn’t believe.

Finally, I went out rented the first three seasons on DVD. Best. Show. I’ve. Ever. Seen. I positively worship all five seasons, with Season 5 being David Simon’s ultimate masterpiece. I can’t recommend this show highly enough if you’ve never seen it.

If you’re a big fan like me, you’ll enjoy this: Someone put together the 100 best quotes from “The Wire.” Warning: Not Safe for Work (a bit of colorful language, you might say).