Wednesday, November 30, 2016

No, Michael Gerson, hypocrisy is not O.K.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 10:51 AM

It’s hard to say which is more stomach-turning, the nonsensical things Donald Trump says or the half-witted things Trump’s supporters say in an effort to normalize him: “He’s a businessman, not a politician.” “He’s not erratic, he’s unpredictable.” Or my personal favorite, “He isn’t a racist, he just isn’t afraid to say what everyone else is thinking.”

We’ve learned that in Trump’s world, up is down and black is white. Virtually nothing the man says is factually reliable or should be taken at face value because he’ll either deny he said it or try to spin its meaning later.

Trump is busy backpedaling on many of his campaign promises or in normalization-talk, modifying them to fit reality.

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson may have just shattered the absurdity ceiling in a recent column where he attempts to turn Trump’s particular brand of hypocrisy into something good for America. 

“A just and peaceful society depends on hypocrites who ultimately refuse to abandon the ideals they betray,” writes Gerson. Hmmm. Try selling that one to the victims of some fairly notorious hypocrites: Hitler, Stalin, or Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, for that matter.

Rather than an electorate informed with facts, Gerson seems to excuse hoodwinking voters with cons, wild cards, and magic tricks.

“Trump presents a special case, in which the normal criticisms of political hypocrisy should be suspended,” he says.

The hypocrisy virus has spread to Congress. Republicans who can't wait to begin investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails and swore they would get to the bottom of alleged conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation have no interest in whether Trump’s businesses present a conflict of interest. Or whether Russia, a foreign government, actively tried to influence US elections. Didn’t we apply sanctions to Russia for meddling in Ukraine’s elections?

And what does Gerson think of the Constitution? Were the founders hypocrites when they wrote it?

Sorry Mr. Gerson, but the idea that Trump’s hypocrisy should be overlooked because he has some other redeeming quality is plain old crazy talk. You’re saying it’s O.K. for politicians to feed the public lies for some greater good. If that’s the case, why bother with elections at all? Why not just turn the American government over to a paternalistic billionaire who can further enrich himself and his allies, and then decide what’s fit for the rest of us?

Oh, that’s right. We already did.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New RCSD superintendent breaks her silence

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 11:54 AM

Rochester school board Vice President Cynthia Elliott (far left), Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, and school board President Van White - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Rochester school board Vice President Cynthia Elliott (far left), Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, and school board President Van White
[UPDATED AND REVISED 12/2/16] Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams acknowledged that the Rochester school district’s special education program is a mess at a meeting yesterday with about 300 members of the Rochester Teachers Association.

The city school district's new superintendent laid out what she’s learned after speaking to more than 1,000 district employees and community leaders – what her office has called her 100-day listening tour.

But she was met by more than a little cynicism; we've been here before, and everyone in the room knew it.

Deane-Williams said that she will stress innovation and customization to improve the district's graduation rate, which hovers around 50 percent. Staff at every level needs to strive for coherence so that their actions support what others are doing; fragmentation is a problem in the district, Deane-Williams said.

Many teachers applauded when she spoke about cutting through the bureaucracy that clogs the district’s ability to get things done quickly and efficiently. But she also said there will be greater accountability.

Deane-Williams is big on design thinking, which refers to a collective approach to creativity and problem- solving. And she said she wants to corral the mountains of data that the district collects.

“There are layers and layers of it,” she said. She wants central office to step up analysis of all that data so it can guide teachers and administrators in real time.

Deane-Williams gives the impression that she knows her way around the classroom and that she’s going to be a hands-on supervisor. School chiefs, her first line of direct reports, will spend about 80 percent of their time in schools, she said. She’s also created what she calls a "principal's cabinet," which gives her direct access to principals, who she intends to be much more instruction-driven and not just building managers.

She didn’t shy away from tough questions: old turnips that never seem to get tilled under. She’s acutely aware that some ineffective building administrators have been shuffled around instead of eased out. She’s not going to address the reconfiguration of grades, particularly how seventh and eighth graders are placed with elementary students in some schools. Facilities modernization, which is now in its second multimillion-dollar phase, has already accommodated the changes, she said.

How grades are supervised is far more important than how they are stacked in a building, she said — a response that drew some groans.

Deane-Williams doesn’t support social promotion, a process that some teachers say is why they end up with students in upper grades with reading proficiency below third grade. The practice corrupts the entire system, from graduation rates to their professional evaluations, they say.

There are two ways to tackle the problem, Deane-Williams said. One is through what she calls "kitchen-table tutoring" with students who need extra coaching in reading or math. The tutoring can be done by non-professionals the same way that parents do with their own children, she said.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the district is how to allocate resources to provide the specialist services for more seriously challenged students. For instance, adding reading teachers will require going through the budget line by line and “stopping something else,”  because there’s no reason to expect increases in revenue, Deane-Williams said. That will be a difficult and public process, but she won't cut music or art programs to find those extra dollars, she said.

A brief online survey that audience members took on their cell phones revealed another issue many teachers still see as a problem: student behavior and school climate.

Still, Deane-Williams sees a district where the work and innovation taking place don't match the public’s negative perception of city schools. She asked: Why isn't the public aware of the many good things happening in city schools?

It’s a simple question that deserves an answer.

Deane-Williams made the acknowledgement in response to one of several  questions posed by an RTA member.

Monday, November 28, 2016

WEEK AHEAD: Events for the week of Monday, November 28

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2016 at 9:38 AM

Fight for 15 is leading a national Day of Action in over 300 cities across the United States on Tuesday, November 29, in what will be the largest series of protests against the Trump agenda to date.

In Rochester, there will be a full Day of Action by low-wage workers on Tuesday, starting at 6 a.m. and ending with a major rally at 5 p.m. in Baden Park on Upper Falls Boulevard.

The Rochester Day of Action is being organized by fast food workers, dairy workers, taxi drivers, barbers, retail workers, home health aides, adjuncts, and workers from across multiple industries, according to Colin O’Malley, organizing director at Metro Justice, which has led the local Fight for 15 effort.

The Day of Action will culminate in a large, unified march:

For more information: Colin O’Malley (716) 400-6287 or Luis Torres (585) 269-4778

There is a public informational meeting from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight (Monday, November 28) on streetscape improvements planned for East Main Street from St. Paul to East Avenue. The extended project will install wayfinding signs along the Main Street corridor from Ford Street to University Avenue.

The meeting will be an open-house format with no formal presentation; you can review and discuss the project with members of the design team, who will be on hand to answer questions.

The meeting is in City Council chambers at City Hall, 30 Church Street. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

Monroe County Legislature committees will discuss County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo’s 2017 budget proposal during meetings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Typically, top county administrators present different sections of the budget to legislators to ask questions. The heaviest questioning tends to happen during the Human Services Committee meeting, which is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A public hearing on the $1.2 billion budget proposal is at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8. The Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee also meets that night.

The committees meet in the Legislature chambers inside the Monroe County Office Building, 39 West Main Street. BY JEREMY MOULE

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Warren, Gillibrand, faith leaders denounce hate incidents

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 4:39 PM

The country is in a difficult place. A divisive election dominated by the contemptuous language of President-elect Donald Trump left much of the country with raw nerves.

But the outcome was downright frightening to marginalized groups, particularly immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and many women. And in the immediate aftermath of the election, those fears have played out horribly. As of today, there have been 701 "incidents of hateful harassment" since the election, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is tracking them.

Though it may be tempting to brush off someone burning two Pride flags in a Rochester neighborhood as a minor thing, the act has broad implications.

"A hate crime carries extra weight," said Scott Fearing, executive director of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, at Rochester City Hall early this afternoon.  The act isn't about just one person; it's about sending a message to an entire group, he said.

A crowd gathered at City Hall today for an event headlined by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. The pair publicly denounced recent hate incidents across New York and the country, and encouraged community members to stand up for one another.  Clips of Warren and Gillibrand can be found at the end of this post.

Warren and Gillibrand were flanked by town supervisors, county legislators, City Council members, and other community leaders. Some faith leaders spoke as well: Rabbi Alan Katz of Temple Sinai, Pastor Roosevelt Dixon of Grace Unity Fellowship Church, and Sareer Fazili, trustee of the Islamic Center of Rochester.

Fazili said Muslims are taught that different tribes were created so that they could all get to know one another. Dixon urged community members to set aside the things that separate people and find ways to come together.

The faith leaders emphasized that solidarity and leadership are essential to overcoming hate. Katz said the opposite of intolerance is not tolerance, but understanding, acceptance, and love.

"Division is good in math, it is not good in society," Katz said. "Diversity is what we want."

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Monday, November 21, 2016

WEEK AHEAD: Events for the week of Monday, November 21

Posted By on Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 9:41 AM

Rochester NOW will hold a discussion on the Trump agenda at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 21, at First Unitarian Church, 220 South Winton Road. The event is free and open to the public.

NOW plans to redouble its work for unrestricted access to abortion care, equal pay, racial justice, rights for LGBTQIA people, an end to sexual violence, and more.

"No doubt about it, our challenge in securing full human rights for women and marginalized people has just gotten a lot tougher. But I can assure you: We will not go back. We will fight back!" — National NOW President Terry O'Neill

A public meeting on the city’s Master Plan will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22, at the Arnett Library, 310 Arnett Boulevard. The meeting is designed to let residents share their ideas about the future of the City of Rochester. It will be an open-house format with members of the project team available to answer questions.

The city has begun updating its Master Plan, which was adopted by City Council in 1999. The updated plan will be called “Rochester 4.0 – Our Neighborhoods, Our Future.” The plan seeks to establish a cohesive vision to guide the city’s growth and development.

More information: (585) 428-6824. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dinolfo budget leaves tax rate unchanged

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 3:07 PM

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo's first budget proposal is about what was expected: the $1.2 billion plan keeps the county tax rate flat at $8.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value. When Dinolfo ran for county exec last year, she promised to freeze the rate — a practice also followed by her predecessor, Maggie Brooks.

That commitment was the driving factor in the preparation of the budget, Dinolfo told legislators when she presented her proposal last night.

Dinolfo's proposal also keeps county funding for child care subsidies essentially flat; the county would add around $100,000 in 2017, bringing its contribution to $5.6 million. But that's one-tenth of the $1 million increase children's advocates and Democratic county legislators requested. Dinolfo reiterated that Monroe County is required by the state to pay more for child care subsidies than Erie, Onondaga, Albany, and Nassau counties combined. And she said she'd work with child advocates to push for more state and federal child care funding.

Dinolfo's proposal breaks from the Brooks budgets in two important ways.

Her plan recognizes approximately $3.4 million in savings from the elimination of three local development corporations. The county formed the LDC's to take on a specific task: one operates a power plant, another upgraded and oversees the public safety communications systems, and the third handles computer and office equipment upgrades.

Dinolfo campaigned last year on dissolving the LDC's, which would put the county in charge of those operations once again. She took the position as four men, including Brooks's husband, Robert Wiesner, pleaded guilty to bid-rigging charges related to two of the three LDC's. (Dinolfo's budget proposal also includes $404,000 for the county's newly-created Office of Public Integrity, which she pushed for in response to the LDC cases.)

But the assertion that getting rid of LDC's saves money implies that they aren't the cost-savers they were made out to be by Brooks. Dinolfo said that the LDC's were each paying legal, banking, and management fees for similar services. The county is also saving money by consolidating the debts of the three LDC's, she says. It will put some of the savings aside for future projects and purchases, so it's not borrowing as much, she said.

LDC critics have argued for years that the independent, quasi-governmental entities don't live up to the hype. But Brooks pushed back hard — calling LDC's innovative public-private partnerships that make government more efficient.

The other change deals with how the budget is structured. During the Brooks years, it was split up into an operating budget and a grants budget; one dealt with money coming from county tax, fee, and service charges, and the other with state and federal grant funds. Dinolfo implemented what she calls "Truth in Budgeting," by combining the operating and grants budgets once again, which she says better reflects county spending practices.

Legislature Democrats said they will thoroughly vet the budget proposal.

"If you follow the annual budget process, each year we are told that they are holding the line on taxes and often that there are no new fees and chargebacks for county services," Minority Leader Cynthia Kaleh said in a statement. "Yet, if you look at your tax bills since 2008, you are paying more and more each year.  At first glance, this budget seems to be more of the same and continues to follow that habit."

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Monday, November 14, 2016

WEEK AHEAD: Events for the week of Monday, November 14

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 9:41 AM

Later today, there will be blood drive that is doubling as a tribute to the late Gary Stern, owner of Village Gate in the Neighborhood of the Arts. The drive is from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. today (Monday, November 14) at Village Gate plaza on North Goodman Street.

Stern was a key figure in NOTA’s redevelopment. Many credit him as a visionary who helped transform the neighborhood into the city’s artistic and cultural heart.

To register to give blood, go to and enter “14607” in the “Find a Drive” box.

Donors will get pizza, free Dryden Theatre passes, and more.

Three meetings on the city’s Master Plan will take place this week. The meetings are designed to let residents share their ideas about the future of the City of Rochester. The meetings will be an open-house format with members of the project team available to answer questions.

The meetings are:

• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15, at the Maplewood library, 1111 Dewey Avenue;
• 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, in Tower280 lobby, 280 E. Broad Street;
• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, at the Ryan center, 530 Webster Avenue.

The city has begun updating its Master Plan, which was adopted by City Council in 1999. The updated plan will be called “Rochester 4.0 – Our Neighborhoods, Our Future.” The plan seeks to establish a cohesive vision to guide the city’s growth and development.

More information: or (585) 428-6824. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

The First Unitarian Church of Rochester will present “What is the TPP?" a panel discussion at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. The discussion will focus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and whether it will bring prosperity and more jobs to the US and counter Chinese influence in Asia, or if it will  threaten labor and the environment. The event will be held at the church at 220 Winton Road South.

The League of Women Voters-Rochester will host “Our Local Attorney General’s Office: What’s in it for You?” at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 14. LWV members want to be sure that the Attorney General’s Office has a rounded view of the many problems in this area from lead contamination to housing discrimination to civil rights concerns.

Ted O’Brien, who heads the Rochester office, will be at the meeting to answer questions and address issues. The event will be held at Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Avenue. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

Tuesday is the deadline for County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo to submit her 2017 budget proposal – her first as exec – to the County Legislature. County law says the executive has to submit a budget proposal on or before November 15.

During her campaign, Dinolfo pledged that she wouldn’t raise the county property tax rate, which is the same promise her predecessor, Republican Maggie Brooks, built her $1 billion budgets around. But Democratic county legislators stress that while the tax rate hasn’t gone up, the county has implemented new charges for services and increased some fees.

Legislature Democrats and some community advocates are also calling on Dinolfo to increase county support for child day care subsidies.

To that end, the Rochester Raging Grannies will “rage,” as the group puts it in a press release, during the public forum at Tuesday’s County Legislature meeting. The session starts at 6 p.m. in the Legislature’s chambers at the County Office Building, 39 West Main Street. BY JEREMY MOULE

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Waking up to another country: CITY's post-election commentary

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 11:20 AM

FROM JEREMY (staff writer):
While the country conducts an autopsy on this election, there are a lot of people who are very worried and scared about what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for them, or for family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

Words fail because Trump is a scary guy. He’s proven masterful at manipulating people’s anxieties and fears, making immigrants the enemy, and lumping Muslims in with terrorists. He was endorsed by the official newspaper of the KKK and said nothing to repudiate it.

And instead of turning off voters, Trump fired them up.

During this campaign, we saw the rise of the alt-right, which is little more than warmed-over white supremacy. In Brighton and Pittsford, a group chucked fliers in people’s driveways urging people to make Rochester greater by making it whiter. Hell, former KKK imperial wizard David Duke made his grand re-entry to politics, though he deservedly lost his bid for a Louisiana US Senate seat. Still, the man got 58,000-plus votes.

Back in April, I covered Trump’s local campaign rally, and here’s how I characterized it:

But Trump isn't looking for people to get along; that much was clear from that speech. You're either with him or you're the enemy, and it was clear that many in the crowd feel the same way. That mindset came through as he blasted the national Republican Party leadership for its threats of a brokered convention; he's earned millions of votes and won more states than the other candidates, Trump said, and should win the nomination before the convention.

There was a point when he was ranting about the dishonest media who he said were lying about him, and the full crowd turned and booed the press pen. The mob was clearly caught up in Trump’s message, and the effect was unsettling.

I worry that similar things will happen en masse, over and over again, in the coming months and years. When people say they’re scared, we need to listen and make sure they not only feel safe, but actually are safe.

Here’s a little bit of trivia for this astonishing day.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led the country in enacting the vast progressive programs of the New Deal, was first elected president on November 8, 1932. On the 84th anniversary of that vote, we elected Donald Trump president and gave him the backing of a Republican Congressional majority, who have pledged to dismantle one of the most important social-welfare programs, the Affordable Care Act, that the country has had since Roosevelt’s death.

FROM FRANK DE BLASE (music writer):

I’ll admit it: I underestimated Donald Trump. And I overestimated the people who voted him in. It would seem they’re in the majority.

The entropist in me sort of embraced the chaos brought on by their misguided pride and ignorance: “How close will we get to the flame?” “What will Trump say next?” or “Mommy, what’s a p*ssy?” Now it’s more like, “How long until Kim Jong-un gets the launch codes?” or “When will Trump and Putin share their first kiss?”

Our mistake was treating Trump as an outsider, as the “f**k you” vote to a fiercely and sadly divided country which has collectively fallen on its own middle finger. Now in the America I knew – the America I thought I knew — the “f**k you” vote has turned into a f**k ourselves vote. Australia is sounding better and better.

You have to ask, right? Was Hillary Clinton the right candidate for the Democrats?

I didn’t think so a year ago, and I don’t think so now. And no, I don’t think Bernie Sanders was, either. Much as I agree with Sanders on many issues, I think Trump – and almost any Republican candidate – would have creamed him yesterday. As we said in our primary endorsement, the country simply isn’t there yet. I wish it were, but it’s not.

I think Joe Biden would have had a better chance – but not, as a friend pointed out to me yesterday – if he had had to run a primary against Clinton. He and Clinton would have split the more moderate Democratic vote, and Sanders would have been the nominee. But if Biden had been the nominee, I think he could have beaten Trump.

While Hillary Clinton was qualified – and vastly preferable to Donald Trump – she had an awful lot of baggage, and it had been publicized for years. Much of it was fabricated. She’s not a criminal. But she and her husband have done lots of unsavory things. Many Americans disliked her intensely, distrusted her, and Democratic leaders knew that when they backed her.

That wasn’t smart, politically. And it wasn’t good for the country.

FROM KIARA (sad intern):
This morning, I woke up and recognized, like I always do, that I am a young woman and a person of color; I woke up recognizing the qualities that make me a minority. But today, something is different.

Tears were already preparing to fall as soon as I opened my eyes. Donald Trump is president-elect and I realized that the majority of the United States of America does not support me, women’s bodily autonomy, the fight against police brutality, refugees fleeing ISIS, immigrants enduring the long and expensive process of becoming a citizen, or the LGBTQ community. The American people have ignored Trump’s fiscal, moral, and ethical irresponsibility.

The outcome of this election has been haunting me all day.

Somehow, a woman who is one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for president was beaten out by a man who has had businesses go bankrupt and faced allegations of sexual assault. We broke a barrier by getting Hillary Clinton this far, but we regressed as a people by not putting her in the White House.

I’m thinking of the young women I saw excitedly putting stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave yesterday. I’m thinking of every sexual assault victim, of all genders. I’m thinking of the illegal immigrants I have met throughout my lifetime who are fighting every day for citizenship. I’m thinking of my friend who is still replaying the idea of conversion therapy in her head.

Our vote was a vote for our moral standing.

Today, ask your friends how they are doing; don’t forget that we are human.

FROM CHRIS (news editor):
As far as I’m concerned, Donald Trump has pulled off one of the greatest cons in American history. A rich NYC boy who probably doesn’t know a lathe from a letter-opener has convinced blue-collar Americans that he will represent their interests. I guess it doesn’t matter that Trump probably couldn’t stand to share a dinner table with them.

There’s a lot of talk about the disconnect in our culture, but I realized last night that it’s more than person to person. The politicians are disconnected from the people they represent, the media are disconnected from the people they purport to cover, trust in our institutions is shattered, and who in the hell are the pollsters talking to?

We talk a lot at CITY about making sure we understand and write for all of the communities in Rochester: Hispanics, blacks, Muslims, the city’s significant immigrant population. Who’d of thought the person we understand the least is the white neighbor with the Trump sign on his lawn?

I’m worried about the Affordable Care Act. I’m worried about Social Security-Medicare-Medicaid. I’m worried about Roe v. Wade. I’m worried about the EPA. I’m worried that the Spray Tan in Chief will bomb the hell out of the world.

I think I’ll go live in a tent in my back yard. Join me?

FROM REBECCA (arts writer):
While I'm not happy about Trump's win, I think that a considerable problem with a Clinton victory would have been so many liberals hitting the snooze button again: a lack of outrage and a lot of shrugging while we keep fighting devastating proxy wars, filling prisons, choosing corporate interest over the environment, and committing other atrocities. If your reaction to that is to get puffed up, just take a breath and think about it; we can all do more.

Take for example how little the left cares about the record deportations that happened under Obama's administration while flipping out about Trump's rhetoric.

There's bad and there's the illusion of good. This nation chose the overt bad. That's actually really useful information.

There's a window of opportunity in this mess. People are on edge about what actions Trump will set in motion for this nation. There is potential for more scrutiny, more willingness to be critical. We need to use this momentum, and we need to use it now.

We have a chance to create genuinely healthy, direct-action movements because the liberal candidate lost and people can't wash their hands of personal accountability. But will the left work harder for the nation they say they want to manifest? Are we willing fight for it? Will we examine what more we can be doing?

I understand the lamentations everyone is posting on various media today, but I'm especially proud to see so many of you writing calls to specific action, words of encouragement, statements of support for vulnerable Americans targeted by hateful rhetoric, and calling for help in planning courses of action.

We have our work cut out for us, but we always have.

FROM KURT (calendar editor):
I keep telling myself today that this planet has existed for millions of years before our kind, and it’ll most likely exist after us. I’m trying to remind myself that there are things much bigger than us. But regardless, I am trying to find solace in existentialism; we’re here today, and we’re in this together.

At the end of it all, people need to stand for something, and regardless of who voted for whom, it’s our responsibility to be nothing but a good influence on each other. It’s ignorant coming from me, a 20-something white man, but I don’t think I can do much else other than express empathy for everyone around me, and do my best to encourage everyone that in the end, we’re in this together.

Allow this to be an opportunity to better ourselves and to make sure those who are afraid or confused have someone by their side.

FROM TIM (staff writer):

It's hard to process exactly what happened last night that drove the election of Donald J. Trump.  It may take a few weeks. But some things come to mind; first and foremost, progressives took a beating. Many white Americans soundly rejected the Obama legacy in droves. They said enough with the Affordable Care Act, enough with marriage equality, and enough with addressing social injustice and racism.

In the case of the latter, many blame Obama for stirring racial anxiety and they cite the Black Lives Matter movement as evidence. And further, they resent any implication that they may be racist, homophobic, or xenophobic.  Political correctness is seen by many as weakness and an attempt to silence the voices of many people who simply do not like the direction the country has taken during much of the last 30 years. A survey showed that seven out 10 Trump supporters longed for a return to the 1950's, the New York Times reported. What a coincidence.

Like it or not populism is the new norm, and it's not always nice. Certainly Democrats have their work cut out for them. It's probably fair to say that neither Republicans nor Democrats have paid attention to white working class Americans, those making under $100K a year in blue collar manufacturing jobs. Globalization has hit them hard and judging from results in Rust Belt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, many voters may feel they got little relief from Democrats.

This election has often been compared to Brexit, and there are some similarities. Anti-immigration sentiment is high. A sinking mistrust has swept through many of the country's most important institutions and government agencies: the Supreme Court, law enforcement, the judicial system, public education, and health care. Some people will surely add the FBI to that list considering it's actions just days before the election.

Certainly some people woke up today, the same as I have, wondering what just happened. Mr. Trump has tapped into something many voters obviously feel — they want a different America.  The question now is whether the choice they made yesterday was the one they want.

FROM MARY ANNA (publisher & editor):
Leading up to the election, there was a lot of discussion in the print media about how deeply divided the Republican Party is and the challenge it will face after the presidential election. But I was struck by Jonathan Chait’s pre-election piece in New York magazine.

Chait thinks the Republican Party is not in disarray at all. Instead, the party has entered a period of “authoritarianism,” he wrote and it’s “more unified than one might imagine as well as more dangerous.”
“Trump,” Chait wrote, “is an extreme event, but Trumpism is no fluke”; it’s where many Republicans are right now.

And I think yesterday proved it’s where many Americans are right now, wanting to rely on someone larger than life, someone who will create – on his own, for them – the kind of country they long for.
Will Republicans in Congress try to restrain him? Given their behavior before the election, I’m not hopeful.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week ahead: Events for the week of Monday, October 31

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 9:53 AM

The Canandaigua Lake Association will sponsor “Alien Invasives Threaten Lake,” a talk at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1, as part of its “Viewpoints” series.

Hilary Mosher, director of the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management at Hobart and William Smith Colleges will talk about the recent activities of the Water Chestnut Strike Team and the removal of the plant.

The removal of invasive plants and animals from visiting boats will also be discussed. The event will be held at Finger Lakes Community College, stage 14, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive.

The Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library will present “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution,” a discussion of the book by Nathaniel Philbrick.

This is the story of a world crisis as a country fights for its freedom and how that newly formed nation must decide how it will be governed. The book will be reviewed by Carolyn Vacca, chair of the history department at St. John Fisher College.

The event will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1, at the Central Library, 115 South Avenue, from 12:12 p.m. to 12:52 p.m. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

Friday, October 28, 2016

Somebody save us from 2016

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 5:16 PM

In Donald Trump, we have a presidential candidate who's gone off the rails, between casual dismissal of his own remarks about sexual assault and  offensive characterizations of Mexicans, Muslims, women, and plenty of other people and groups.

Locally, a white supremacist group is tossing fliers saying that we need to make Rochester greater by making it whiter into Pittsford and Brighton driveways in the middle of the night.

And now, we have Republican State Assembly candidate Joe Errigo impugning the City of Rochester with racially insensitive remarks made in a matter-of-fact manner on a local radio program. During that same broadcast, he declared that President Barack Obama is telling black people to “kill the whites.”

Perhaps worse, nobody from Errigo's party is publicly condemning him or his remarks.

At one point, 2016 was a raging dumpster fire, but it’s now something worse: it’s a tire fire that was started by that dumpster fire. No matter how hard anyone tries to smother this putrid, smoldering disaster, the piles of garbage burst back into flames, sickening us all.

What’s there to say that hasn’t been said? These awful, sad, infuriating, destructive, and exhausting things keep happening. They set us back as neighbors, communities, and a country.  Collectively, we've lost our minds.

Here’s what Errigo said on WXXI’s Connections on Thursday afternoon regarding the City of Rochester. He started by telling host Evan Dawson that he grew up on Carter Street near Hudson Avenue, and rapidly shifted into a trope that could have been hyperbole, but sure didn't sound like it.

“It was a beautiful area when I was growing up, however, like I say, I wouldn’t go down there in a bulletproof car," Errigo said.

Suddenly it's OK to say any damned thing you want and the people who call you out on it are the ones who are wrong. Errigo owes Rochester an apology.

And here’s what Errigo said about Obama, after Dawson asked him whether non-whites are treated differently:

No. I think they take that attitude because it’s given to them. When you hear the president’s minister say, instead of God Bless America, ‘God damn America,' let them feel the pain, now you’re bringing this back to slavery and I was not part of that, my parents weren’t part of it. We lost a lot of people over to that fight.

But I think the president has done a disservice and I don’t condone [sic]. I hear the way he talks sometimes that just , they’re telling the black people "Get out there, kill them, kill the whites." So he’s to blame.

In a later interview with the Democrat and Chronicle, Errigo tried to clarify that he was talking about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor in Chicago. Obama has since disavowed him.


Errigo has an opponent, Democrat Barbara Baer, so voters in the 133rd Assembly District have a choice. The district covers the towns of Rush, Wheatland, Mendon, and Pittsford; the villages of Pittsford and  Scottsville; all of Livingston County; and several communities in Steuben County.

His potential constituents could send a message that they think he’s wrong and that they won't stand for these kind of antiquated, boorish remarks. If they vote him into office, they’re tacitly agreeing with him.

But the district is a Republican stronghold and history says that Errigo will probably win. The whole world has gone mad.
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