July 4, 2020

It’s a weird Fourth of July this year. For most of us, there are no gatherings, no BBQ’s, not even fireworks. Disney Plus has given us the gift of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton to remind us of what we once were only a few years ago.

But there’s another film we should also be watching. Magnolia Pictures released the documentary on the life of Rep. John Lewis, Good Trouble, on July 3rd, and it’s riveting in a low key way that I didn’t expect. In case you were unaware, John Lewis is the 80 year-old Congressman from Georgia who is the only survi...

June 14, 2020

Somewhere in the third month of this New York City lockdown, and amidst daily national protests over the killing of black men by brutal police officers, the new streaming service HBO Max announced that Gone with the Wind would be one of their premier films for their launch. Meanwhile, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling wrote a 3700 word essay during Pride month to announce that she believes that people who have transitioned to the opposite sex are indeed not equal to those who have lived with the genitals they were born with.

It’s been quite a...

March 1, 2020

Picture features the "LGBT-free zones in Poland today. 

On February 25th, a third of Poland has declared itself to be an official “LGBT-free” zone as local municipalities signed a pledge adopting resolutions against “LGBT propaganda”. The nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments have pledged to “refrain from acts that encourage tolerance and must avoid providing financial assistance to NGOs working to promote equal rights.”

Shortly after this vote activists revealed the extent of the anti-LGBT zones in Poland through an “Atlas of Hate...

February 19, 2020

It’s a sure sign that basic civil liberties are turning into piles of ashes when autocratic leaders begin burning books. Beginning on May 10, 1933, Nazi youth groups burned books in public pyres in 34 towns across Germany. Hitler’s right arm and Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels delivered a fiery call to action: “No to decadence and moral corruption!” he yelled, while the people who had gathered there made fire oaths promising loyalty to the [State and Hitler] amid a band playing lively marching songs. “Yes to decency and morality in f...

February 17, 2020

Since it’s President’s Day, I thought RDN should take a look at the wedding of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln met Mary Todd at a cotillion after she had moved from Kentucky to Springfield, Illinois to be with her married sister. Lincoln was 30 and she was 21.  According to legend, he walked up to her and asked for a dance, saying, “Miss Todd, I want to dance with you in the worst way.” 

Mary Todd, whose nickname was Molly, was the daughter of wealthy parents with political interests. She was well educated, having gone to a presti...

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