Even the most attenuated of historical perspectives must give one pause when reflecting upon this year’s presidential ticket which consists of an African American and a Mormon running for President of the United States and two practicing Catholics running for vice-president. White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant America, the ruling elite for so long, has yielded to a multiculturalism that would have seemed inconceivable just one short generation ago.
The intriguing mix of ethnicity and faith that characterizes this year’s respective national tickets provokes the most interesting reactions, especially when it comes to Paul Ryan’s Catholicism or, to put it another way, how Mr. Ryan reconciles his role as the principal architect of today’s budget cuts with Catholic social doctrine about feeding the poor. A former altar boy, Ryan’s conservative budget known as “Path to Prosperity” has run afoul of the United States Conference of Bishops who are philosophically and temperamentally partial to the notion of redistribution, the ideal vehicle, as they see it, in giving succor to the poor, the hungry and the dispossessed. Despite the plethora of evidence that proves the most significant and durable benefits to the general populace are not mechanisms of redistribution but rather those resources that bring capital and productivity into the equation, Mother Church remains in thrall with government programs responding to symptoms of poverty and want rather than its causes.
Ignition (Black Vinyl) is the first album by cult band The Shoes in 18 years. While the Zion, Illinois quartet’s name may cause some head-scratching, its power-pop nuances—delectable harmonies, jangly guitar and hooks a go-go echo elements of The Beatles, Raspberries and even Tom Petty.
Recently, the New Hyde Park All-Stars made a storied run at a championship during the recent Little League Softball World Series that was held in Portland, Oregon. After a year of countless indoor and outdoor practices and a schedule of around 70 games played, these tweens became one of 10 teams to make the cut for this tournament. From here, the All-Stars went on a three-game winning streak before falling to the Southwest team (New Mexico) and the West team (Hawaii). That said, NHP rallied back on Wednesday, August 15 and beat its Latin American rivals from Mexico 7-6. This whole journey was one in which everyone pulled together in a way you’d expect from a squad that got this far in such a prestigious international tournament. Even the youngest All-Star, Stewart Manor’s Katie Tubridy, made her presence felt, contributing two base-on-balls and three stolen bases to help her team’s cause. And while the All-Stars finished a solid fifth out of 10 teams, this once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment was made possible by a community of parents, coaches and neighbors all pulling together to make it happen. So in a way, these gals ended up winning something—an extraordinary experience that they’ll hopefully see their daughters repeat when it comes their time to pick up bat and glove.
— Dave Gil de Rubio
The following letter was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo in support of his recent statements relating to L.I.P.A., which clearly enunciate the reasoning for, and therefore solicit his support of, our proposed Four Village Clean Energy Facility & Microgrid. I offer this to keep you continually informed of this exciting idea within a very fluid and changing environment. My fellow mayors and I appreciate Governor Cuomo’s assertive leadership and attention in this matter upon which all commerce and vitality on Long Island depends.
It is now axiomatic that economic freedom begets political freedom. Capitalism works because of its potential to reward the entrepreneur whose success depends upon meeting the needs and wants of others. Steve Jobs is a classic example as are many others. So it’s a two-way street or, if you like hygienic metaphors, one hand washes the other. Freedom does not, however, make one successful or virtuous but merely creates the condition for becoming so. Too much of it carries the potential for harm, which is why we not only have laws restraining freedom but also traditions, customs, mores and institutions. All these mediating forces tame and pacify the liberating instinct so it does not, by a sinister osmosis, mutate into anarchism and undermine all manner of authority. It is one of the salient themes of John Milton’s Paradise Lost where the poet essentially asks what the nature of freedom is when it means freedom from God. What does this mean for morality, the very essence of fellowship? The “new atheists,” with iconoclastic delight, argue that rubbing out the stain of superstition from the garment of humanity will unshackle minds and hearts thus diminishing violence and even enlarging our beneficence. I have my doubts. But whether people are moral because of a divinity that ineffaceably inscribed eternal laws into the catalogue of human nature or, like Darwin maintained, that evolution embraced these moral values because developing a personal and social conscience increased the species’ chances of survivability, the question of freedom’s impact on values has been significant and defining.
Live + Performance (Shout! Factory) is a double-CD reissue of two in-concert releases by the late Donny Hathaway. A gifted pianist and gospel-influenced vocalist, Hathaway’s performances on these discs include a mix of solid originals and tour de force interpretations of material by Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Leon Russell and Nina Simone.
On Saturday, July 28, the Adelphi University gymnasium was the site of the second annual Malone Mulhall Benefit Game. This event was created in the memory of the late Michael Mulhall and Malone sisters Jamie and Paige, all of whom perished in a car accident on the way to their job at Lido Beach’s Camp ANCHOR (Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation), a recreation program for special needs kids and adults. Spearheaded by creator Joe Lynch, who was also a friend of Mulhall and the Malones, it was a sold-out affair with more than 1400 people packing the place to watch a team coached by Knicks announcer Mike Breen take on a squad helmed by NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin. A full account of the pro ballers involved (Danny Green, Vernon Goodridge) can be found in a terrific cover story penned by Stephen Levine in last week’s Floral Park Dispatch. While the star power was exciting, the best part of the event was the fact that sales of tickets, t-shirts and raffles netted Camp ANCHOR more than $25,000. Undoubtedly a bittersweet day for those who knew and loved Michael, Jamie and Paige but also a heartwarming example of a community pulling together to honor three remarkable young people.
It is a paradox that the esteem of young Americans appears to grow in proportion to how far they academically recede from their counterparts in the industrial world. Perhaps this is because they have been serenaded about how wonderful they are ever since they were mewing about in their playpen. If you are always being congratulated the idea of self-improvement strikes one as totally unnecessary. As a corrective, perhaps on this year’s assigned reading list we can recommend a book of maxims, those quotes characterized as much by their concision and pithiness as by their sagacity. When we think of maxims or aphorisms, sayings of Benjamin Franklin come to mind: “Haste makes waste” and other assorted pearls that serve as a guide for living efficiently and wisely. But there are other maxims, not as well known that illuminate our weakness, frailty, self-delusion, pretensions, unseemly piety, vanity and a host of hypocrisies too subtle and unnerving to admit to ourselves. In the hands of a master, these self-serving delusions are not only revealing but bitingly comical. The French writer Guy De Maupassant said that if you want to understand human nature look to the underside.
GREEN ONIONS (Stax) is the 1962 debut of Stax/Volt house band Booker T. & the MGs and was recently given a 50th anniversary reissue. While its funky title track is an instantly familiar slice of strutting organ runs and biting riffs, the rest of the album is equally as engaging with jazzy covers of Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson and the Isley Brothers.
In our sports-obsessed culture, far too often the term hero gets tossed around a bit casually. Not only should it be restricted to the likes of service members and civil service workers who put their lives on the line everyday, but definitely for the late G. Michael Godfrey, the former chief of the South Floral Park Fire Department. A volunteer firefighter for 35 years, he spent seven of them as the chief of the department.
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