Friday, March 25, 2016

Can You Believe It? I'm a True Progressive

There’s a quiz going around the Internet which asks 10 questions to determine how conservative or liberal you are. Guess what? I’m a “true progressive.”

“You are 19% conservative and 81% liberal, you are a True Progressive!,” according to my answers about such diverse topics as gun control, military spending, social security and welfare programs.

“You believe in truly liberal principles, such as expanding social security, tuition-free education, and free healthcare for all. You view war as a last resort, and would rather see military spending re-directed towards infrastructure, jobs programs, and the middle class. You understand that progress is made through radical, progressive movements, a political truth you embrace wholeheartedly.”

As if readers of this blog needed any confirmation of my liberal beliefs.

Every so often the John McCain we all wish we could admire surfaces. Not the John McCain who chose Sarah Palin as a running mate in 2008, but rather the John McCain who immediately rejected disparaging remarks about Barack Obama’s citizenship and religion when confronted by a female supporter that same year. 

Such a John McCain showed up on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times Friday in a stirring memorial tribute to Delmer Berg, perhaps the last surviving member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade of mostly American zealots who fought for democracy in the Spanish Civil War in 1937-38 against the forces of fascism led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Berg was 100 when he died last month.

To the very end Berg was a devoted Communist, not the type of passion you would expect McCain to eulogize. But the Arizona senator did himself proud by conveying the dedication Berg and his Lincoln Brigade comrades displayed during a time when the world watched as “the three most powerful ideologies of the 20th century—Communism, fascism and self-determination—began the war that would continue, in some form or another, for more than half the century until the advocates of liberty, and their champion, the United States, prevailed” (

Too bad we don’t see more of this John McCain.

Bird Talk: Lately I’ve been feeding the birds leftover baked goods. So far I can report they have snarfed up with gusto such ethnic treats as bagels, chocolate babka cake from Katz’s Delicatessen, Irish soda bread, a sesame seed flagel (a flattened bagel), a Fresh Direct banana bread and marble cake. 

Speaking of birds, have you ever heard of the Fraternal Order of Eagles? I hadn’t until earlier this month I sat next to two cheerful ladies on the last leg of their Bangor, Maine, to New York to Minneapolis to Omaha trip for the annual conference of chapter presidents and membership chairpersons. As Linda and Laurie informed me, the Eagles have been around since 1898 (the women’s auxiliary since 1927) doing good works, raising money, all of which they donate to mostly medical related charities, usually more than $10 million a year. 

The Eagles claim to have founded Mother’s Day (take that, Hallmark!), served as the driving force in founding the Social Security Program (you too, FDR!), and helped end age-based job discrimination with the “Jobs After 40” program. Among its distinguished members have been presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Other luminaries included Eleanor Roosevelt, Bob Hope, Gordie Howe, Max Baer and Tony Orlando. The Eagles also sponsor Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

I’d heard of Elks, Moose, Kiwanis, Lions, Masons, Shriners and Rotarians, and even the Raccoons of Jackie Gleason-Honeymooners fame, but never the Eagles despite their having more than 800,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. They don’t have lodges; they meet in aeries, some 1,500 for the men, 1,300 for the women. 

For more info on the Eagles, go to