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Number of posts: 19
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Posts by Jon Sinton:
Our Only Hope
While you were surfing the Internet, consuming video on-demand, texting on your smartphone, chatting on Facebook, or Tweeting about playing Halo 18, Neil Postman’s seminal 1985 work, Amusing Ourselves to Death, was coming true. Postman correctly predicted that while we were on guard against George Orwell’s Big Brother in the dystopian classic, 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World–the one where entertainment and self-indulgent behavior allows the political class to pull a fast one–emerged into our consciousness fully-formed.
We have awakened from our amusements, well, some of us, anyway, to find a world gone mad.
Playing Small Ball
OK, excellent outcome. Not a mandate, but clearly a rebuke to Republicans’ misguided belief that hate and division can again pass for vision. Their pundits employed “selection bias,” the phenomenon where you pick the information that suits your argument (Karl Rove, Peggy Newnan, Rasmussen Polling, The Wall Street Journal, Talk Radio and Fox News) rather than the facts (Nate Silver). If you’re scoring at home, that’s Science 1 – Wishful Thinking 0.
The two headlines have to be Science and Demographics.
Ignorance or Magical Thinking
A friend was getting abused for her liberal thinking. Facebook “friends” were relentless in their bullying, minimizing her relevance, and denigrating her personally. She ultimately made a more peaceful existence online by un-friending them. She is a wise and good person. A college professor with a huge heart, and intellect to match. This was truly upsetting to her, and she decided to let it go and live in peace, while noting that they treat me differently. It is not just because I give as good as I get. I try to be reasoned, respectful and logical. Here’s how I answered her:
The mood was sour last week at Netroots Nation 2012, the seven year-old gathering of progressive political activists who have come together, and come of age, online.
Two days before they arrived for the four-day conference in Providence, Rhode Island, Wisconsin voters opted to keep Scott Walker, the embattled Republican governor who laid waste to collective bargaining rights for teachers, firefighters and cops. His victory was aided by enormous amounts of out of state money, the result of 2010’s Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision that said corporations are people…
The Common Good
I recently served on a panel at the 64th Annual Conference on World Affairs that was titled “How Liberals Think,” a question I’ve pondered as long as I can remember. Beyond the classic dictionary [New Oxford American Dictionary] definition, “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values; favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms; and (in a political context) favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform,” let’s address it as the more fundamental question: Which side of history do you want to be on?
Martin was fourteen years old when his father first walked him to the United States. From the poor little Central Mexican village of San Miguel, the walk should take seven days. Sometimes, it took only six. Once, it took 11 days. And the time it took 15 days – they were lost – the party of itinerant workers ate snake (“Not very good, but you will eat it if you are hungry enough”), and armadillo (“Better than pork!”). They were happy not only to have food, but to have tasty food. The armadillo was charred on the outside, owing to a very hot cooking fire, but was quite juicy on the inside. Martin felt the juices running down his chin. It wasn’t until the next morning when he looked at his father in the daylight, that he realized how undercooked the armadillo really was and that he, as well as the rest of the party, was also covered in armadillo blood.
The knee jerk reaction of many, if not all, right wing hosts was to vilify and minimize a rather ill defined but decisively moral movement. While making fun of stuff we fear (or don’t understand) never loses its charm, this is a loose movement that many in our audience relate to positively. I think Limbaugh and Hannity were far too quick to tease and stereotype the protesters as vagabond hippies. In actuality, it’s teachers, fire fighters and cops upset by layoffs and the loss of collective bargaining rights, families distraught over upside down mortgages after their tax dollars bailed out the very banks who won’t loan to them and are trying to foreclose on their houses, and college graduates with big student loan liabilities and no job prospects.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Last Thursday, just before I took my daily two-mile run/walk hunger struck. A few bites of watermelon did the trick. When I bit into that cold sweet watermelon a flood of summer memories rushed in. I recalled the great tastes of summer and with those memories came warm images of youth in the Georgia countryside. I saw stacks of dark green, striped watermelons, red, ripe tomatoes, and heard the beautiful grinding of a hand-cranked ice cream churn. Recalling the great tastes of summer I thought will make a good column. I created a document and titled it “The Tastes of Summer.” I’m Read on →
We are barbarians. I can't take credit for saying that, although I completely agree. My friend did that, just after I posted this video on my Facebook page: I was all set to write about how Charles Ramsey isn't a hero. But this, this makes me realize that I was wrong about that. Here I was thinking Ramsey, the guy who answered Amanda Berry's cries for help, ending the imprisonment of three women in Cleveland, shouldn't be called a hero because he just did the right thing. My argument was that we've set the bar way too low for bestowing hero Read on →
When music publisher John Stark first heard Scott Joplin play his piano, he knew that ragtime was the music of hope for a new America. But Joplin would never be content with popularity and fame. Joplin committed himself to racial justice in the early 1900’s. He was inspired by Booker T. Washington and the Dahomeyan defeat in West Africa. But due to this earnest pursuit, he was ignored by the masses for writing the music of Civil Rights fifty years before America was ready to listen. King of Rags, by Professor Eric Bronson, is a historical fiction account of the quest for r Read on →
My beloved colleagues in Teh Media sure get on my last damn nerve. Most of the time it's just from sloppy work or jumping on whatever bandwagon is rolling by at the time, something along the lines of a pet peeve. Like when my Twitter list of political reporters blows up with some hashtag meme instead of actual reporting. Today it's #Obamacareinthreewords, launched by that icon of credibility, Rep. Darrell Issa. It's the second time around for that one -- Rep. Kevin McCarthy launched it the first time last June. (@WhiteHouse even got in on it, tweeting "It's.The.Law." Republicans responded with "arrogance Read on →