The Score: Madieu Williams, Tim Kaine, Pink House, General Assembly
This week on The Score: former National Football League player Madieu Williams; state Senator Creigh Deeds and House Minority Leader David Toscano; a review of Little Pink House, the movie; Senator Tim Kaine on congressional war powers; and more.
Last Tuesday, April 24, at George Washington University, the Graduate School for Political Management hosted a panel discussion on the topic, “Sportsmanship in Advocacy.”
The program featured the executive director of the NFL Players Association, Demaurice Smith; former Washington Redskins safety Madieu Williams; and GSPM director Lara Brown. The panel was moderated by Politico reporter, Jake Sherman.
Naturally, the discussion turned toward the protests taken by football players, some of whom refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem to bring attention to police brutality that disproportionately affects members of ethnic minorities. Much of the conversation, however, focused on bread-and-butter players’ union issues, like health care, pensions, and similar matters.
After the discussion, I spent a few minutes with Madieu Williams to talk about how football players can speak out about political or social issues and about his own foundation, which helps young people in the United States and Sierra Leone, the African country where Williams was born.
On Wednesday, April 25, at Monticello High School in Albemarle County, two Democratic leaders in the General Assembly held a town hall to speak with their constituents about the issues that affect them and to answer questions about the 2018 legislative session. Delegate David Toscano is the minority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates. He represents the City of Charlottesville and portions of Albemarle County. State Senator Creigh Deeds comes from Bath County and represents a bow-tie shaped district that extends from the West Virginia border to the Charlottesville area.
I asked them both a question I pose to a lot of people these days, wondering about the state of civility in politics and public life. Then we talked about the most recent General Assembly session, which will reconvene on May 14 to consider the still-to-pass budget.
In this week’s movie review, Tim Hulsey looks at Little Pink House, a feature film about the people of New London, Connecticut, whose homes were destroyed after an infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision called Kelo v. New London. In that ruling, the nation’s highest court decided that property could be taken from one private owner and given to another private owner who promises to make a bigger profit with it. This may have been the first time that many Americans heard the term “eminent domain” and found out why it mattered to them.
The film was based in part on Jeff Benedict’s 2009 book, Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage, and it has languished a bit since it was produced, looking for a distributor for more than a year. On its opening weekend, Little Pink House was shown in just nine theaters around the country.
There will be a special, one-time screening of Little Pink House on May 9 at the Alamo Cinema and Draft House in Winchester, Virginia. That program will include a Q&A with the film’s composer, Scott McRae. Similar screenings are popping up around the country, and there may be one in Charlottesville in late May or June. Check your local cinema listings for more information.
In our “From the Archives” segment this week, we hear from veteran journalist Evan Thomas. I interviewed him in March of 2013, when he came to the Virginia Festival of the Book to present his biographical study of former President Dwight Eisenhower, Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World.
Last week, I had an opportunity to interview the Ambassador of Senegal to the United States, Babacar Diagne. The ambassador is returning home to Senegal after nearly four years in Washington. In this brief excerpt of our interview, Ambassador Diagne talks about the historically close ties between his country and the United States. (I may revisit this conversation in future episodes of The Score.)
On Friday, April 20, the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia hosted U.S. Senator Tim Kaine in the historic Rotunda Dome Room on the UVA Grounds.
The purpose of the event was for Senator Kaine to talk about congressional and presidential war powers. He is one of the principal sponsors of a bill that would amend and essentially replace the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which had the opposite effect of its intent. Instead of constraining presidential war powers, the War Powers Resolution led to an expansion of executive authority.
Along with Members of Congress like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan (both Republicans), Senator Kaine has made it a legislative priority to reassert congressional authority in the deliberations and decisions about leading the United States into war. Along with Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), he introduced the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014, based upon the work of a Miller Center study group. A more recent iteration of this legislation has Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as a cosponsor.
If you’re looking for an Easter egg, we have a special treat, only for our listeners on line. Tim Hulsey reviews a second movie for us, this time one about contemporary Christian music called I Can Only Imagine which stars Dennis Quaid and features Trace Adkins and Amy Grant, among others. The movie shares a title with a song by the popular band, MercyMe.
Next week on The Score, I hope to have an interview with U.S. Senate candidate E.W. Jackson, among other features. Tune in to find out what else comes our way.