The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

This week’s Republican National Convention has exposed a large and growing rift between former allies George LeMieux and Charlie Crist.

It’s convention season, so Florida was bound to have some interesting problems. When Charlie Crist publicly endorse President Obama and began to slam the Republican Party (his former party) a few days ahead the Republican National Convention, George LeMieux, former US Senator from Florida and advisor to Mr. Crist, responded with a scathing editorial. LeMieux claims “this isn’t the Charlie Crist I knew” in a letter to the Tampa Bay Times, lamenting his former boss’s shift from a “Reagan Conservative to an Obama Liberal.” Worth noting: Crist lives in St. Petersburg, mere miles from the location of the ongoing convention. [Tampa Bay Times]

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The RP’s Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Faith

The Politics of Faith

Bill Nye — yes, the science guy — says teaching Creationism is not appropriate. [CNN]

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York and head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will offer a prayer at both parties’ conventions. [NYT]

Lily Dale, NY, is a town built by and for Spiritualists. [Religion News Service]

Poor economic conditions are having a negative impact on the churches, pastors say. [LifeWay Research]

The parents of Tyler Clementi, a gay teen who committed suicide in 2010, said they have left their church. His mother said they grew out of step with their church’s view on homosexuality. Clementi’s suicide followed the discovery that his college roommate had spied on his sexual relations, and broadcasted them on the Internet. [NYT]

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Pancakes and Patience

Pancakes and patience.

Back from last family dinner before our son was college bound.

We shared –despite protestations–an assortment of random funny stories of when Johnny was younger. One of mine was when he was about 4 years old and we were sitting at an IHOP and our order was taking a very long time. It was Johnny’s first trip to IHOP and he was hungry for pancakes and wanted to try all the different syrups.

After he asked again how long it would be until the waitress brought our pancakes, I responded: “Johnny, this is a good opportunity for us to learn patience.”

Johnny’s head whipped around angrily and glaring at me he said in a frustrated voice, “I don’t want to ever learn patience!! Patience is bad!!”

I leaned back in my chair and said, “Yeah, I know what you mean. I”d rather have the pancakes that learn patience too.”

I’m not sure either of us has learned a lot about patience since then  either. But we at least considered it briefly 14 years ago.

John Y and The RP: Sending our First Borns to College

The RP and John Y. Brown, III


— friends for nearly two decades — have a lot in common.  A youthful political addiction, a more mature wisdom of the folly of politics, much, much better halves who’ve helped then grow up, truly demented senses of humor (albeit, John Y. is more demented and more humorous). Now they find themselves coping at the exact same time with one of the most difficult rituals of middle age:  sending their first borns off to college a few hours from home.  They both were pretty apprehensive as the magic date approached, and pretty blue once it passed.

Today, they share their reflections with the RP Nation.  Enjoy:



The importance of ice cream and fathers. And kids.

Our son moves out tomorrow to go to college. As I drove home late from work my mind was reeling—reeling about the immediate future (getting ready for tomorrow’s big event), about the present (the final night at home before our son moves out and moves on) and, of course, about the past (memories which now seem eerily ancient of a boy who is no longer a boy anymore).

My best memory for both my children is what we came to call “ice cream night.” For nearly 9 years –every Monday night—I would pick up my two kids while mom had the night to herself. When we started Johnny was 6 and Maggie 2. It became a weekly tradition with dad. We had a routine and we stuck to it almost without fail. We’d get ice cream (usually at Graeters) and then go to Barnes & Noble bookstore for an hour or so where we’d look at books and magazines, get something to drink like hot chocolate and make up some activity. Sometimes we’d play slow motion hide-and-seek so we wouldn’t be noticed by the bookstore employees. Sometimes the kids would make up a play for me in the children’s book area. Sometimes I’d read something to one or both of them. Later we’d listen to music or just sit in the cafe and talk. But we were there every Monday night. Until we weren’t.

It’s hard to persuade a 15 year old to do much of anything especially hang out with Dad on Monday nights. But I remember a few years earlier asking my family if they would be on board with me running for Lt Governor with then House Speaker Jody Richards. They were. The only hesitation was my son asking if  that meant we’d no longer get to do ice cream on Monday nights. I told him softly and candidly “It might.” He looked down at the ground for several seconds but knew something bigger was at stake and then said, “That’s OK.”

I’ll never forget that and tried to keep our Monday nights going through the campaign. And did a better job than I expected. Even the state Democratic Party chairman knew Monday nights were a special–sacred, really–time for me and my children and would ask frequently during the campaign if I had taken care of business the previous Monday night. I was able to say I had more often than not.

I am grateful for those 9 years. More now than ever.

Tonight as I drove home from work I was approaching Graeter’s ice cream and decided to call to see if they were still open. They were. And so was the Barnes and Noble bookstore across the street. Both stayed open until 10pm. I called my wife and she got both kids to meet me for ice cream again and even joined us herself this time. We were buoyant at the funny irony of it all. We ordered our ice cream and sat and laughed about how we can’t go back in time. Perhaps most can’t. But tonight I was able to–at least briefly.

I hurried everyone out of Graeter’s to go by Barnes and Noble one last time “for old time sake,” I said. The kids agreed. We walked through the doors and were greeted by staff offering to help us and reminding us they were going to close in 3 minutes. I recognized one of them from our earlier days. We walked up together to the magazine section and lingered for a minute or two chuckling awkwardly with one another. And then we were told the store was closing. The kids left and my son drove my daughter home. I stayed inside a few minutes longer to do a quick once around to see if everything was as I remembered it. It was. And then I unlocked the already locked entrance door and let myself out. And drove home alone.




Commemorating the 10th anniversary of my father’s passing the same week I dropped off my oldest daughter Emily for her freshman year at college brought forth a rush of conflicting thoughts and emotions.

One of my most cherished possessions is a letter penned to me by my father on my first day of college.  He didn’t actually give it to me until decades later, for later-to-be-obvious reasons — both my mom and he were putting up a brave face to help compensate for the natural homesickness I would be feeling on my first days from the roost.

It is intensely personal, so despite the public life I’ve chosen for myself, most of my dad’s words will remain in the exclusive possession of his intended audience.

But I feel compelled to share his closing paragraph with my friends, because my father — whose poetic stylings far exceed anything I’ve written — so incredibly encapsulates my inner conflict in the days following my own first born’s first day of college.  And for those of you who’ve gone through this rite of passage, perhaps you can identify with my dad’s words as well:

Please remember that we love you without reservation, and are here when you need us.  We wish that you never have pain, but know you will, and hope that you can use our feelings for you to get past your own hurts and failures.  You sure have helped us with ours.

While Lisa and I have tried hard, especially over the past few years, to prepare our daughter for independent life, there’s only so much that any two of us can do.  It’s impossible to reconcile the desire to fully and completely protect your child from the harms of the world with the understanding that at some point, they need the freedom to make their own mistakes, seize their own triumphs.

And that’s the heart of my struggle.  I’m so damn proud of what an extraordinary young woman my daughter has become, and so excited to see how she will continue to grow and flourish, given her newfound independence and the opportunity to study, learn, and make new relationships on a remarkable college campus.  But she will always be the little girl I held in my arms; she will always be the fragile flower that I would sacrifice my life to protect.

Letting go is the most difficult thing I have ever done.  But I know it is also the most important.

= = = = =

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Laughter

The Politics of Laughter

Best Buy logo updated for accuracy. [picture]

Russia [YouTube]

Honest Kitchen Container [picture]

IT Red Flag [picture]

Who could be this dense? At least change the font! [picture]

Hey look, another dumb person. [picture]

Fair Warning [picture]

Jeff Smith: Bill Maher’s Takedown of the GOP

Wow. What a takedown: Bill Maher’s new rule for Todd Akin [Huffington Post]

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Life Lessons (Remedial Version)

Life lessons. Remedial version.

This morning I was going through my routine at Starbucks:

1) Walk in;

2) say hello to the Barista;

3) order coffee and something to eat;

4) go to condiment bar to pour out 1/8th of my coffee to make room for the cream and sugar;

5) and walk back to car.

As a rule I try to keep all my daily processes to 5 steps or under to minimize chances of leaving out some critical step.

And that has worked well.

Until this morning.

I got to my car and realized I had failed to put in the cream and sugar. The lady in front of me had to re-scan her credit card while I was in mid-order. I made some joke to her about it and we both laughed. But that caused me to lose my mental place in my process chain. I confused step 4 for step 3.

At first I wasn’t sure what to do so I simply said an expletive to myself. After a few seconds it became clear that more needed to be done.

Then a flash a genius.

Obviously, it was too embarrassing to go back into the Starbucks. And as a rule (a second one), I hate to look foolish in front of Baristas or strangers with credit card problems.

So I drove across the street to Speedway and stealthily got a cup and put cream and Splenda in and tossed in a stirrer. I slinked back to my car as the cashier watched to see if I had stolen something. I held up my Starbucks coffee cup as I poured in the cream and Splenda and he finally looked away.

It tasted terrible.

And I learned yet again the important life lesson that it is better to “look foolish (at Starbucks) and be happy” than to “try to look cool but actually look really foolish (at Speedway) and be unhappy.”

Lauren Mayer: When Politics Hands You Lemons, Write Songs

I realized long ago that I was way too thin-skinned for politics (having spent a college semester in DC as an intern for a liberal lobby – yeah, I am probably the only intern who never got hit on by anyone, much less politicans!)

But every now and then something happens to raise my hackles, so to speak.  For a pro-choice, pro-marriage-equality, Jewish-mother-who-secretly-yearns-for-a-gay-son, the GOP platform is a real hackle-raiser.  (And for a California resident, it’s also extremely frustrating – California is a reliably blue state so we’re totally written off in any major election, so without hundreds of millions of dollars to contribute, there’s not much I can do.)

But instead of developing an ulcer, I’ve channeled my energies into the following ditty:

I’ll be doing a new one every week during the run-up to the election, so I hope you enjoy!

Nancy Slotnick: Illegitimate Rape

Senator Akin’s comments last week beg the question: Is there such a thing as illegitimate rape? Does the double negative somehow imply a positive?  That just seems wrong. How do we identify rape in dating? Obviously the use of force is a dealbreaker. But the dance of saying no but meaning yes is one in which both genders participate.  And managing expectations is very difficult when you’re dealing with a stranger.

All that being said, there’s something empowering and exciting about a one-night stand, even for the girl.  Sometimes especially for the girl.  Maybe it is the danger.  The idea that you can live on the edge and brush with a dangerous situation but yet have good enough judgment not to choose a rapist or an axe murderer.

Or is it the prowess that you can be just like a man—i.e. have a sexual adventure without getting emotionally attached?  Or can you?  I don’t believe that most women can.  Well, yes, if there’s some “legitimate” reason (there’s that word again!) that a guy would never be husband material then we can remain detached.  (If he’s really good in bed.)  And it can be a lot of fun!  Like if he’s 15 years younger or the wrong religion, or both.  Or an axe murderer. Ok, well, that might not be fun.

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Nancy Slotnick: Illegitimate Rape

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Pigskin

The Politics of Pigskin

Here is a really touching story about how Matt Hasselbeck helped fellow QB Trent Dilfer through a really difficult time in his life while they were teammates in Seattle. [PFT]

Vince Young’s once-promising career continues to evaporate as he was cut today by the Bills after they acquired Tavaris Jackson. Young will probably be picked up elsewhere, but it is a long-shot for him to have any meaningful impact at this point. [SI]

The Jets’ offense has been held to 0 touchdowns through 3 weeks of the preseason. [National Football Post]

Rookie Russell Wilson has been named the Week 1 starter for the Seahawks. This is a high risk vs. reward move so it will be interesting to see how it pans out. [ESPN]

In other rookie QB news Ryan Tannehill has won the Dolphins starting job. [CBS Sports]

WR Donte Stallworth made the Patriots list of cuts today. [PFT]


The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show