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Monday, February 27, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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    hurts our hearts

    How to survive the Trump Era

    by | 1 | Feb 24, 2017
    How to survive the Trump Era

    I imagine what happens next to that march from protozoa to ape to man – just a poof of dust from the increasing implosion of facts-to-lies-to-violence based on nothing but a madman’s brain, and his cunning associate (perhaps with an “s” – just in case there’s somebody else in the room with Bannon?).  I wonder, daily, about how much of the planet will still be here …

     

     

    right to bear cars

    To Kill a Protester: Tennessee Republicans to Issue Hunting Licenses

    by | 0 | Feb 22, 2017
    To Kill a Protester: Tennessee Republicans to Issue Hunting Licenses

    Running down pedestrians with your car is wrong. Whether the act is intentional or negligent, running down pedestrians is absolutely wrong. That ethical absolute extends to encouraging others to commit such an act. Unfortunately a couple of Republican lawmakers in Tennessee want their state courts to take a much more permissive approach to vehicular murder and assault. Tennessee State Representative Matthew Hill and State Senator Bill Ketron have introduced…

     

     

    forever changed

    Searching for Animals and Stories

    by | 1 | Feb 21, 2017
    Searching for Animals and Stories

    In 1998 my husband Wilton and I decided to take a trip to Kenya, which fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams of being able to see wild animals in their natural habitats. I had read so many books about life in the jungle and loved Isak Dinesen’s book and the movie Out of Africa. I enjoyed trips to the zoo to see elephants, lions, and giraffes, but always longed to see them in Africa as they were in Born Free.

     

     

    moral blindness

    Defense, Defense

    by | 0 | Feb 15, 2017
    Dew family photo - Charles Burgess Dew is the infant on the left, shown here with his mother, Amy Meek Dew, and his brother, John Carlos.

    Southerners are said to be obsessed with their own history. It’s true, belying that old dictum that history is always written by the winners. Even now, well into the 21st century, I find myself wading into the murky waters of that Southern obsession with the past, which invariably goes back to slavery and the War.

    This obsession animates the 2016 book I have just finished reading, The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade, by historian Charles B. Dew …

     

     

    awakening hearts & minds:

    Critical Perspectives on Israel/Palestine & Syria

    by | 0 | Feb 15, 2017
    Critical Perspectives on Israel/Palestine & Syria

    A conference on February 4th in Decatur, GA featured “rock star” panelists, knowledgeable, articulate, even entertaining on a subject that doesn’t readily lend itself to such. This is not a thorough review of the conference but more a collection of impressions.

    A talk on Syria by jounalist Reese Erlich, a week later added further to my notes. My attendance at these events was motivated by a lack of knowledge about the situation in Syria…

     

     

    commander in tweet

    Learning To Live in the Empire

    by | 1 | Feb 15, 2017
    Learning To Live in the Empire

    I admit to retreating often from the evening news, but the acts reported find me through their effects on my friends.

    The physician of a friend is also my physician: he has done grafts for lymphedema on both of us. For us he is a miracle worker. Last week he told my friend that new government regulations just put in place will limit anyone to three grafts to be covered; thereafter, amputation will be covered for those who can’t pay for additional grafts on their own.

     

     

    heaven help me

    Of formal dresses and BIG birthdays

    by | 1 | Feb 15, 2017
    Of formal dresses and BIG birthdays

    Two thousand seventeen has not gotten off to a good start for Yours Truly.

    First, there was the dress. No. make that The Dress. It was “The Dress” instead of simply “the dress” because it is for the upcoming wedding of our youngest son, Carson, a brilliant new lawyer (takes after his father) who now calls Des Moines, Iowa, home. Carson will wed Claire Roth in Athens in April. You might recall my column on his unusual Pepperoni Proposal

     

     

    black shirts or brown?

    Is America Ready for Fascism?

    by | 1 | Feb 13, 2017
    Is America Ready for Fascism?

    “— mind you, the corridors of power are littered with Fascist leanings; anything to save the upper classes through disenfranchisement of the common man while allowing the common man to think you are on his side.” — Dr. Trevor Petit, a character in Jaqueline Winspear’s mystery A Lesson in Secrets

    Recently, I’ve stumbled upon two articles on fascism that are chillingly relevant as political darkness envelopes the nation.

     

     

    crackdown on continues

    Trump Targets Aliens at Area 51

    by | 0 | Feb 10, 2017
    Donald Trump at Area 51

    In a series of tweets and Fox News interviews, President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to deport Area 51 aliens and answer scores of questions that have plagued the minds of millions who voted for him.

    “The people have a right to know, and I’m going to tell them,” Trump tweeted. “I’ve ordered the FBI to send me all of their X-Files.”

    At an afternoon press conference in Roswell, New Mexico, before a crowd estimated by the White House to exceed fourteen million …

     

     

    cherished ideals

    An Open Letter to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

    by | 0 | Feb 9, 2017
    Weloome Your Neighbors

    Yesterday I attended a wondrous event: democracy in full-throated action.

    Congressman Bob Goodlatte chairs the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives. It’s a position of considerable power, for good or ill. Congressman Goodlatte also represents Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District, which just happens to include Harrisonburg, Virginia, where I live, the home of the national Welcome Your Neighbors movement.

     

     

    34-28

    Fair Warning to the Rest of the Country

    by | 2 | Feb 6, 2017
    Fair Warning to the Rest of the Country

    Atlanta, Georgia will be closed on Monday, February 6th. I would suggest any plans you may have for doing business with anyone in Atlanta on February 6 be postponed until later in the week – or maybe until the following week. All regular human activity will come to a standstill, no business will get done and hardly anybody will even be at work on Monday. You’d think that Atlanta had a full inch of snow on the ground.

     

     

    covered in paint

    Remembering Animal Farm

    by | 1 | Feb 3, 2017
    Remembering Animal Farm

    Thirty three years ago, George Orwell became extra popular across the world. His Facebook page went viral and he multiplied his Twitter followers a hundredfold, or he would have if those things had been operable in 1984.

    It appears he may be in the process of making a comeback. Based on the first few days of the Trump presidency, 1984 has vaulted to the top of the bestseller’s list. I’m down with dystopian novels being appropriate right now, but…

     

     

    searched then hugged

    The Real America

    by | 0 | Jan 31, 2017
    Table of Trumps Muslim Countries Banned

    Yesterday I mentioned to a British friend my concern (in the light of Trump’s edict banning arrivals from certain countries), that all our political views are frankly on record on social media outlets.

    I said ‘It only takes a few minutes to judge a person’s political stance by checking their Facebook or Twitter accounts.’ He thought I was absurd to be concerned. He hasn’t lived in the States or used Facebook so perhaps is not aware of the extent to which people express their views, or that Big Brother is likely reading their mail.

     

     

    tehran, iran

    The Day the Shah Left Town

    by | 0 | Jan 31, 2017
    Ruins of the Gate of All Nations, Persepolis

    In the 1970s Tehran was one of the few cities in the Middle East where alcohol was available for the local population and tired travelers. The city was cosmopolitan, the Persian people were friendly and the fashions were right out of Paris. Other parts of the country were different, more traditionally Persian and some opposed to the Shah.

    Arriving at and departing from Mehrabad Airport on commercial flights was always interesting. The Iranian Air Force…

     

     

    to the abyss

    Alternate Realm

    by | 0 | Jan 31, 2017
    “Alternate Realm” is a painting by Tom Ferguson

    I found this in my muse-folder one recent morning:

    beneath the polarized & poisonous air
    lies the breath of life
    the state of being
    the realm of beauty, joy & creativity

    Seems like my meandering thoughts tend to channel toward composing blogposts or Facebook replies these days…

     

     

    just the facts

    The Alternative

    by | 8 | Jan 28, 2017
    Caricature of Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer by Trevor Irvin of IrvinProductions.com

    This story is moving so quickly I’m not sure I can keep up with it. By the time you read this we could be in a war with Korea and Putin will be dancing in the West Wing. The American press has been shamed for reporting reality and disseminating verifiable information. I called KellyAnn ConJob to ask her about this and the she-beast of propaganda, hissed … “It’s not the press’s job to report reality, their job is to report what I say reality is.”

     

     

    fable of buyer’s remorse

    One Bite at a Time

    by | 0 | Jan 27, 2017
    One Bite at a Time

    Years later, if you had asked Robbie exactly when it was that he decided to eat the elephant, he would have had trouble coming up with the answer. Perhaps the seeds had been planted in his early childhood. All those elephant jokes…

    Q: What’s red and white on the outside, and grey and white on the inside?
    A: Campbell’s Cream of Elephant Soup.

     

     

    reasonable or rational

    Nothing Gentle on My Mind

    by | 0 | Jan 27, 2017
    Barry McGuire - Eve Of Destruction

    It’s playing endlessly in my head, and I’ve resisted the urge to share. But, it’s not going away until I do. Why the reluctance? Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking or not wanting to be yet another frantic voice sounding the alarm. I’m a grace under pressure kind of guy. Between trade wars and the war on terror, border walls and Muslim bans, executive orders and Twitter tirades, alternative facts and information blackouts, authoritarian strongman bromances, and infuriating cabinet selections, hurried deregulation and environmental suicide it’s hard not to see this ending badly. Bigly. So…

     

     

    fake opinion next?

    As Trump Lies Glut Market, Fake News Sites Lay Off Thousands

    by | 1 | Jan 25, 2017
    As Trump Lies Glut Market, Fake News Sites Lay Off Thousands

    Fake News sites are laying off thousands of workers in the wake of Donald Trump’s first days in office when he rattled off so many lies publishers of the sites said there’s no more complete horsecrap left to make up.

    “He’s ruining our business model,” said Ted Klepper, an out-of-work auto worker who publishes TruthGodFacks.com from a shed in the back of his home in Blanchard, Michigan.

     

     

    still the mind – enjoy being

    Mulling On Consciousness

    by | 0 | Jan 20, 2017
    Mulling On Consciousness

    What is happening? I’m watching a movie, a little disturbed by the violence, take a break to pee when suddenly I’m aware … a pang of fear… the conceptual reality-bubble I create to walk around in is burst… I feel vulnerable. I’m standing at the toilet, but the greater world just beyond these walls with its terrible indifference, its marauding criminals, Doppler sirens, terrorists, and accidents roaming the streets … major hostility … and cancer …  and it’s true “I” am vulnerable.

     

     

    we are a hostage audience

    Republicans Know Reducing Obama’s Legacy Will Be Expensive

    by | 0 | Jan 18, 2017
    Republicans Know Reducing Obama’s Legacy Will Be Expensive

    Revenge is one of the powerful unspoken temptations of public office. For incoming presidents, the urge to punish often involves diminishing the historical legacies of their predecessors. Ronald Reagan took revenge on Jimmy Carter by gutting renewable and clean energy policies. Fuel efficiency standards were rolled back, renewable energy research and development funding was slashed and the wind power investment tax credit was eliminated. Reagan even had the solar panels on the roof of the White House taken down.

     

     

    middle east

    A Year of Learning

    by | 4 | Jan 18, 2017
    A Year of Learning

    It was an interesting year. OPEC was beginning to exert its influence over world oil prices for the first time and generate considerable wealth for its member countries to invest in new industries. My company decided to expand its exports of minerals to the Middle East. I had some business experience in Asia but knew nothing about the Middle East. I was soon to learn. The first challenge was managing the use of two passports and not presenting the wrong one when I entered or departed certain countries…

     

     

    appealing to baser instincts

    Wrong Man, Wrong Time

    by | 3 | Jan 16, 2017
    Wrong Man, Wrong Time

    I’m no historian, but from the perspective of advancing age, I find fascinating that certain societies produce just the right leaders at just the right time. Think Abraham Lincoln, for example, who evolved during his presidency from defender of the Union to emancipator of the oppressed, a transition marked by the Gettysburg Address, perhaps the greatest oration in American history. Think FDR, who, despite his infirmities, shepherded the U.S. through back-to-back crises: the Great Depression and the Second World War…

     

     

    who makes such evil profitable?

    An MLK Day Rumination

    by | 1 | Jan 16, 2017
    An MLK Day Rumination

    think the psyche of the South for a man my age carries with it a fading memory of the shame and bitterness of being a son of a conquered nation. My father’s elementary school classes had annual field trips to the Confederate Memorial — a marble double arch inside a small chain-link fence — in Robinson Springs, AL. The names of the dead remain on the aging marker under the damp shade of broad oaks, but the field trips have ended. There is so much more to Southerners than the civil rights struggle…

     

     

    rule of the thug

    A Global Counter to the Global Rise of Fascism

    by | 1 | Jan 13, 2017
    A Global Counter to the Global Rise of Fascism

    As America enters the Age of Trump, it is important to recognize that what’s happening is not just about Trump, and not just about America. Forces kindred to Trump have lately been ascendant around the world.

    We see different manifestations of this same ascendant force that has borne Trump into the presidency in Putin’s Russia, in Erdogan’s Turkey, in Britain’s Brexit movement, in right-wing ethno-nationalist parties across Europe (France, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, etc.), in Netanyahu’s Israel, and in Duterte’s Philippines.

     

     

    make america ache again

    Calming Fears, Trump Vows To Keep Word and Destroy Health Care for Everybody Who Voted For Him

    by | 3 | Jan 10, 2017
    Calming Fears, Trump Vows To Keep Word and Destroy Health Care for Everybody Who Voted For Him

    Amid rising concerns among millions of jobless, destitute and desperately angry white males that he is about to cave to political pressure, President-elect Donald Trump reassured his supporters Monday that he still plans to destroy every last vestige of their health care.

    “Everybody who voted for me is not going to have to mess with going to the doctor, I guarantee you!” Trump tweeted …

     

     

    how’s that working 4u?

    Dealing with Defeat

    by | 0 | Jan 6, 2017
    Benjamin West’s painting of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse entitled “Death on a Pale Horse” (1796), Detroit Institute of Arts (Public Domain)

    On his Sunday TV show after the previous day’s football game, former Alabama coach Bear Bryant was once asked by sidekick Charley Thornton about his players crying after a particularly devastating loss.

    Bryant replied that the time for crying was the previous Tuesday when they practiced halfheartedly, or during film study, when the players showed little regard for that week’s opponent. That was when the upcoming game was lost.

     

     

    an education is earned

    My Favorite School Teacher

    by | 0 | Jan 6, 2017
    Apple on teacher's desk - old, sepia, scratches

    There is no higher calling than helping young people find their way because you care about them and their futures. There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the good of young people is the highest creed. Reward follows service.

    Kathleen Cleaveland gave most of her adult life to her students at Hendersonville High School and she served them extremely well.

     

     

    greetings from ireland

    What a difference a year makes

    by | 7 | Jan 6, 2017
    What a difference a year makes

    A year ago, spending Christmas with my son’s family in Ireland, I finally decided to make the move. I’d been living eleven years in Harrisonburg, Virginia, near my youngest son. I was happy in America, comfortable, well established with good friends and plenty of activities. But my son had moved to Kansas in 2014 and I was long flights away from him and his brothers in UK, Ireland, Kansas, Arizona and Australia, all urging me to move …

     

     

    no right to give up

    Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross

    by | 0 | Jan 4, 2017
    Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross

    One of the challenges Bertram Gross’ book, Friendly Fascism, presents the reader with is this: if your views coincide with those that a major, long-term, well-funded propaganda campaign has aimed to instill, wouldn’t it be prudent to reconsider those views? We don’t come into this world armed with disinformation detectors. We tend to trust those around us and more or less uncritically adopt their values. Born into a Muslim world, chances are you’ll be Muslim. Born into a Catholic family in Italy? …

     

     

    shoring up our godly cred

    “So Help Me God”: Not Unpresidented, but Unpresidential

    by | 1 | Jan 3, 2017
    Richard Nixon Taking The Oath Of Office - official White House

    At noon on January 20, Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office as President of the United States: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” And then he will add the phrase “so help me God.”

    Those four little words are not in the Constitution, but …

     

     

    waiting

    Heart Attack

    by | 0 | Jan 1, 2017
    Heart Attack

    We were in the vehicle on the interstate traveling to see my dad for his birthday and to have a family dinner when my sister called to say she thought he was having a heart attack and was taking him to the hospital. Other than a handful of colds through his seventy plus years and one case of food poisoning, my dad had been the ultimate mind-over-matter-vitamin and herb-man. I often wondered if he really had the mind-over-matter power, if he could will his heart to heal.

     

     

    amazing grace

    Barack and the Beatitudes

    by | 1 | Dec 30, 2016
    President Obama’s mic drop at the White House Correspondence Dinner via WhiteHouse.gov

    Some years ago, when I was living and working in Central Florida, my family and I attended a Sunday service at a congregational church in Winter Park. In his sermon that morning, the minister envisioned Jesus’ long-prophesied return to our midst. In the preacher’s telling, the Prince of Peace so alarms some of the populace with his public denunciations of rampant materialism and his insistence on ideals such as humility, forgiveness, charity and non-violence that he is soon murdered all over again.

     

     

    political negligence

    Climate Action a Moral Imperative

    by | 0 | Dec 30, 2016
    Climate Action a Moral Imperative

    According to a 2016 poll by Yale and George Mason University, 3 out of 4 registered voters think the climate is overheating and more than half believe it’s caused by human activities.

    Meanwhile, politicians who are paid millions in campaign contributions by the fossil fuel industry block much-needed action to curtail the worst impacts of continuing emission of greenhouse gases. Due to such corrupt denial of facts, millions of Americans …

     

     

    bang

    Hunting For Your Heart

    by | 1 | Dec 24, 2016
    Polite Squirrel by Syd Phillips

    He had always wanted to go hunting with his big brother, and this was going to be his first trip. It was also going to be his last.

    He got up early. Real early. They wanted to be in position by dawn. Sunrise was at 7:30. That meant they had to leave the house by 6:30, allowing for a half hour drive and a 20-minute walk into position. He was up at 5 o’clock. At least that’s what he told his brother…

     

     

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