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Your Kindness Will Never Be Forgotten

The past couple of weeks for us have been, how should I say this, hectic. Bonny and I are safely back home in Maine, and for that we are grateful. The passing of Bonny’s mom and uncle in the same week was somewhat surprising, but in all likelihood, we realize that other families go through similar, if not worse situations on a daily basis. It is a common experience that we all share.  In any event, these last several days have allowed for many hours of reflection.

As we all age, we realize that things like hope, kindness and good cheer do not smooth out the wrinkles, but can keep the heart refreshed. Honored age gives one the authority to ignore authority. You learn to forego your age or at least not dwell on it, to be happy to just be alive to have earned that privilege. If not years to your life, why not life to your years? Our human spirit is remarkably sturdy and resilient, allowing us to get past the hardships as long as we differentiate the little from the big, and find a way to smile through it all. Sometimes when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated. This is not necessarily the way that it has to be, as to lose a dearly loved one is also an opportunity for us to learn.

You learn that you cannot step twice into in the same river and expect things to be the same, for the waters behind you continue to flow. There is no time for stagnation as the flow of change goes on. So, let the past drift away with the flowing waters, but never forget the laughter, the sounds, the joys and the loving memories that you shared with loved ones. Extract the most from those memories. As sadness and pain creep in, realize that sadness and gladness succeed each other, both of which will be followed by spring.

So when the time comes, whether in a storm or calm, let down the sails and join quietly the waves.

On behalf of Bonny and I, we thank all of you for the outpouring of empathy, sympathy and inspiration that you have showered upon us and our family during these difficult times. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

 

By: raemd95, richardaevansmd.com, July 22, 2016

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Family Values, Marriage, Seniors | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Donald Made Me Do It”: Rubio Is Running For Reelection After All… Against Donald Trump?

After failing to win the Republican nomination for president, Marco Rubio is now going back on his promise to not run for reelection to the Senate.

“Marco Rubio abandoned his constituents, and now he’s treating them like a consolation prize,” said Democratic congressman Patrick Murphy, who is running to replace Rubio.

What’s worse, Rubio is using Donald Trump’s “worrisome” candidacy, which he has supported in various forms in recent months, as an excuse for his change of heart, citing concern over Trump’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic remarks, as well as his still unknown views on other important issues.

“As we begin the next chapter in the history of our nation, there’s another role for the Senate that could end up being its most important in the years to come: The Constitutional power to act as a check and balance on the excesses of a president,” he said in a statement Wednesday announcing his bid to keep his seat.

“If he is elected, we will need Senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him,”

That’s right. Rubio spent months after dropping out of the presidential election failing to rebuke Trump in any forceful way, but now plans to make Trump a central part of his campaign platform.

Although Rubio did not mention the Orlando tragedy in the statement, he previously cited it as a reason for reconsidering his decision to not run. It’s unclear what actions Rubio will pursue to prevent further massacres once in the Senate — on Monday, he voted against four gun control bills, two each from Republican and Democratic sponsors.

Rubio also happens to have one of the worst attendance records in the Senate, something Trump pointed out frequently during the Republican primaries, before Rubio dropped out and Trump encouraged him to seek reelection.

Rubio had previously pledged to support his friend, Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez Cantera, in the race to replace him. Cantera scratched plans to run for Rubio’s seat after Rubio’s announcement on Wednesday.

Congressmen Ron DeSantis and David Jolly also dropped plans to reach the Senate and opened the way for Rubio.

 

By: Germania Rodriguez, The National Memo, June 22, 2016

June 26, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Senate | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Marco Just Loves That Senate!”: Marco Rubio Wants To Return To A Job He Hates

It took just one year for Marco Rubio to go from Beltway darling to “bless his heart.”

Rubio, whom Florida politicos have known for years as ambition in human form, ran audaciously for the United States Senate in 2010, shoving former Republican governor Charlie Crist out of the way and out of the party in the process. He won a 49 percent plurality in a three-way race against Crist and then-Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek to claim the office.

Even as he ran, it was clear to most Florida political watchers that Rubio viewed the Senate as a mere stepping stone to the presidency. He seized the spotlight in the crafting of an immigration reform that was his star turn. He was considered the guy who could sell the bill to the right.

But when he mounted a tour of conservative media outlets to make the pitch, he was roundly rebuffed, including by one of his constituents, Rush Limbaugh of Palm Beach. Rubio quickly abandoned his colleagues, including Arizona Senator John McCain, and disavowed the bill.

Rubio’s flight from immigration reform highlighted one of his less wonderful qualities: his willingness to morph into whatever political form suits his immediate needs. He was anointed by Jeb Bush to become speaker of the Florida House, and shoved aside his best friend at the time, speaker aspirant Gaston Cantens, to get there, figuring there was room for only one Cuban-American leader. He became a tea partier when being a tea partier was the path to Senate power; and ditched the movement soon thereafter.  He’s been a neoconservative acolyte of Jeb Bush, and he’s been Bush’s tormentor, stepping in front of him in line during what friends of Jeb saw as his last chance to be president. In the process, he betrayed a man who throughout his political career had been both benefactor and de facto family.

Now, Rubio is mounting his latest reinvention; going from “never going to run for re-election” to the Senate, to maybe, to “yes.” Rubio watchers in Florida say the decision has to do with two things: the beseeching of D.C. Republicans like Mitch McConnell, who see Rubio as the party’s best chance of holding onto the seat in a tough election cycle; and Rubio’s desire to run for president again in 2020—something he believes he can best do from a Senate perch.

But getting back in involves real risks for Rubio.

The first risk: his reputation. Rubio may have cleared the field of his most prominent Republican competitors, but among those remaining is Carlos Beruff, a self-funding developer who has made it clear he is willing to put $10 to $15 million into the race  on top of the $4 million he’s already spent. And Beruff is already hitting Rubio hard on the question of whether he’ll vow to serve out his full term if reelected rather than running for president and using the Senate as a stepping stone again.  That’s a promise it seems unlikely Rubio can make honestly, and he has already refused to be pinned down on the matter when asked by reporters.

That future prospect is where the second risk to Rubio lies. If he gets back in and loses in a primary, particularly to a virtual unknown like Beruff, he will be humiliated. If he survives the primary but loses in November (Rep. Patrick Murphy currently leads the Democratic pack), he will be equally so. It’s one thing to cede a Senate seat willingly. Losing it would make it very difficult to run for president, given the spotlight that will be on the Florida race. Rubio seemed to seek some assurances from national conservatives this week, reportedly lobbying former rival Ted Cruz and conservative stalwart Mike Lee to essentially draft him publicly to run, to put a movement sheen on it. Both men declined.

Democrats have vowed to make life difficult for Rubio. . Murphy reacted to the announcement that Rubio was “in” with an email blast, saying the famously unhappy Senate warrior “abandoned his constituents, and now he’s treating them like a consolation prize.” Super PACS supporting Democrats have pledged to spend at least $10 million in the effort to unseat him. And Democrats could have a good shot, if Hillary Clinton beats Trump in Florida and has coattails, and if straight-laced, seemingly incorruptible Murphy is the Democratic Senate candidate.

Still, there is upside for Rubio. He is leading in the current Quinnipiac poll against either Murphy or fiery Rep. Alan Grayson. He will no doubt have flush campaign coffers, between longtime patrons like former Philadelphia Eagles owner and car magnate Norman Braman,  who is said to have poured more than $10 million in the super PACs supporting Rubio’s presidential bid, and the Republican Senate Campaign Committee. But the campaign is likely to feature a rehash of his worst moments of the past few years: his immigration reversal; his disastrous “tiny bottle” moment as he delivered the State of the Union rebuttal in 2013; his failure to show up for work; his “robot Rubio” shellacking at the hands of Chris Christie during the GOP debates; his rather self-serving reaction to Orlando, which he used as the excuse for reconsidering quitting the Senate and which has drawn fire from LGBT rights groups; and his spectacular primary defeat at Trump’s hands.

There’s one more risk Rubio faces: his long-term brand.

As a Senate candidate, Rubio will be under tremendous pressure to make good on his vow to support Trump as the Republican nominee. This on top of the spectacle of someone who spent the waning days of his presidential bid playing the dozens with the man who reduced him to “Little Marco” oddly saying he would be “honored” to help Trump in any way.

As the rare nationally known Hispanic Republican, and with the presidential candidate in a desperate search for political stars to decorate his potentially B-list-laden Cleveland convention, Team Trump will surely deploy Rubio liberally, to refute the notion of Trump’s anti-Hispanic racism. But for Rubio, a primetime speaking slot in Cleveland could be more curse than blessing. He risks becoming Trump’s Hispanic human shield; a prospect other Latino politicians, like spurned New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, will be able to avoid, even if they are dragooned into attendance in Cleveland.

For so many reasons, a Rubio Senate run seems fraught with career-defining peril. But it’s peril he’s apparently prepared to face, if it means another shot at the White House.

 

By: Joy-Ann Reid, The Daily Beast, June 22, 2016

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Senate | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Bygone Era”: All Politics Aren’t Local Anymore

Sometimes changes that affect our politics are subtle and therefore, easily missed. Paul Kane has identified how one of those changes is affecting members of the Senate who are running for re-election.

After nearly 12 years in the Senate, North Carolina Republican Richard Burr holds a dubious distinction: a lot of people in his home state don’t know if he’s any good at his job…

Burr is not alone among potentially vulnerable incumbents with low name recognition in key states that will decide which party controls the Senate in 2017. Of the 25 least known senators, ten are running for re-election — nine of them Republican — as relative unknowns, with roughly 30 percent of their voters unable to form an opinion of them. That list includes Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).

Kane suggests that the reason these incumbents are so unknown among their constituents is that partisans tend to get their news from ideologically driven outlets while local news has all but disappeared.

Overall, there are more reporters covering Congress than ever, except they increasingly write for inside Washington publications whose readers are lawmakers, lobbyists and Wall Street investors. A Pew Research Center study released earlier this year found that at least 21 states do not have a single dedicated reporter covering Congress.

That is a story John Heltman wrote about here at the Washington Monthly in an article for the Nov/Dec 2015 edition titled: Confessions of a Paywall Journalist.

Kane goes on to talk about the two options Senators have used to overcome this lack of name recognition. First of all – money talks.

“We go six years with no coverage,” Burr said in an interview this week, lamenting the fading interest in his state’s congressional delegation. “So it’s like you weren’t here for six years. Your name ID drops into the 40s.” Run $5 million in ads, he said, “it pops right back up to the 80s.”

Secondly, “iconoclasts stand out.”

After little more than three years in elected office, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has reached near saturation level with Bay State voters, with just 12 percent having no opinion of the liberal firebrand. Meanwhile, Sen. Ed Markey (D) — an institution in Massachusetts politics after 37 years in the House and three in the Senate — does not register with 30 percent of his constituents.

It’s the same dynamic in Texas with the state’s two Republican senators. Ted Cruz — an erstwhile conservative presidential contender — has held elective office not even three-and-a-half years, yet all but 14 percent of his voters have a strong view of him. A third of Texans cannot form a view of John Cornyn, the Republican whip with nearly 14 years in the Senate who is likely to be the next GOP floor leader.

That points to two disturbing trends we’ve all been watching lately in politics – the influence of big money and the rise of show horses over work horses. Jonathan Bernstein picked up on all of this and suggests that it also fuels partisan gridlock.

I don’t know how much the changes in media coverage caused the atrophy of the committee system and Congress’s ability to do its job. But it’s easy to see how rank-and-file members have fewer incentives to be productive, and more incentives to merely vote with their party’s leadership and do little else.

All of this focuses on how the lack of a vibrant local press affects incumbents in the Senate. One can only assume that it poses an even greater challenge for members of the House. Finally, it explains a lot about why we have tended towards an “imperial presidency” and the lack of voter participation in midterm elections. For years we’ve been hearing that famous line from Tip O’Neill who said, “All Politics is local.” That might be relegated to a bygone era.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Political Media, Politics, Senate | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“New Revelations Pose A Problem For ‘No-Show Rubio'”: A History Of Regularly Failing To Show Up For Work

For pundits, Marco Rubio’s record of not showing up for work has already been dismissed as campaign trivia. For months, the senator’s critics have highlighted Rubio’s history of skipping key votes, important briefings, and committee hearings, and for months, much of the political establishment has been inclined to blow off the issue.

But the Washington Post published a report yesterday that should encourage pundits to take a fresh look at the controversy.

In the anxious weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Florida House hurriedly assembled an elite group of lawmakers to develop plans to keep the state safe.

A spot on the Select Committee on Security was a mark of prominence in Tallahassee. Some of the airplane hijackers had acquired Florida driver’s licenses and trained at flight schools in the state, and legislators lobbied furiously behind the scenes in hopes of being named to the 12-member panel tasked with addressing the state’s newly exposed vulnerabilities.

Among them was a young Republican by the name of Marco Rubio, seen as a rising star in Florida GOP circles at the time, who sought and received one of the coveted slots. It was a rare opportunity for the GOP lawmaker to not only tackle the substance of a major issue, but also earn some credibility.

It really didn’t go well. The Washington Post reported that Rubio “skipped nearly half of the meetings over the first five months of the panel’s existence, more than any of his colleagues.” He also “missed hours of expert testimony and was absent for more than 20 votes.”

In one notable incident, Rubio arrived late for a debate, missed some expert testimony, made a passionate argument against the proposal under consideration, quickly realized his points lacked merit, and then voted for the measure he’d just criticized.

At another point, the article added, Rubio’s indifference to his duties prompted then-State House Speaker Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who agreed to reward Rubio with the sought after assignment, to “express concern.”

Lately, when asked about his poor attendance habits, Rubio routinely points to the busy schedule of a presidential candidate. But in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Rubio was just a regular ol’ state lawmaker, who had far fewer pressures on his schedule. He nevertheless regularly failed to show up for work.

Making matters slightly worse, this article coincides with a new report from the Tampa Bay Times, which noted that Rubio points to his tenure on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as evidence of his White House qualifications, but a closer look suggests that’s probably not a good idea, given that the evidence ”paints a bleak picture of participation in the day-to-day responsibilities of the job.”

Rubio is on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Commerce and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees. The Florida Republican has missed 68 percent of hearings, or 407 of 598 for which records were available.

His skipped 80 percent of Commerce hearings and 85 percent of those held by Small Business, records show.

He has missed 60 percent of Foreign Relations hearings since joining the Senate despite making his committee experience a centerpiece of his qualifications for president.

He attended 68 percent of Intelligence Committee meetings, though he has drawn criticism for missing high-profile ones, such as a briefing on the Paris terror attacks.

The argument from Rubio and his supporters is that he’s a presidential candidate, and it’s expected that senators on the national campaign trail are going to have a much lower profile on Capitol Hill. Maybe so. But the Tampa Bay Times’ analysis started with Rubio’s arrival in the Senate five years ago and ends in November 2015 – months before the official launch of his presidential bid.

The picture that emerges is that of a young man in a hurry, who’s eager for a promotion without having done much to deserve one.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, February 19, 2016

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Florida Legislature, Marco Rubio, Senate | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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