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ile de ré
Remember when we associated France with popular rebellion against tyranny and individual liberty? The French Revolution, the Paris Commune, the French Resistance and May 1968 provided ideas and imagery for innumerable liberation movements around the world.
To the dismay of many Francophiles, of late liberal democracy in L’Hexagone has gone pear shaped in response to Islamist terrorism. Surveillance was ramped up and the number of prosecutions for hate speech multiplied after the January 7, 2015 Charlie Hebdo mass killing…
our collective narcissism
Let me first try to make sure I’m not misunderstood. I am not saying that I wish the Democrats had done anything different at the convention. As many observed, the Democrats were smart to occupy the upbeat, patriotic, American-exceptionalist, morning-in-America space that Trump’s GOP abandoned with its fear-mongering dark picture of the state of the nation. Those chants of “U.S.A! U.S.A.!” may help some Republicans and Independents, unhappy with Trump…
not so great
Today, in his third act as President, (the first two are too embarrassing to mention) Donald Trump ended the treaty with the SunGod. He felt that others were not contributing their fair share of sacrifices to the SunGod. At today’s press conference, which was held in the complete dark due to the lack of a sun, Donald stated “America is for chumps if we are going to pay too much for sunlight! I’m not going to sacrifice one more smoking hot virgin that I could use in the Miss America pageant to some SunGod who isn’t an American…
threat to our democracy
For millions of Americans watching the 2016 Republican Party Convention in Cleveland, disbelief and dismay have given way to bemused contempt. They see a GOP in a state of extraordinary disarray and unable to prevent a likely electoral train wreck. Many of its heavy weights simply refused to attend, including two former presidents, six governors, and 21 U.S. Senators. David and Charles Koch are notably absent.
requires frightened people
In what might be the smartest appeal so far in this otherwise dismal presidential election, Hillary Clinton did NOT call Donald Trump a fascist during her July 13th speech on unity in Springfield, Illinois. Instead she warned about what he might do once in power. Declining to use the “F word” might seem pusillanimous, the sort of rhetorical restraint that conservatives pounce on, but using it could actually blur what is more important point.
BREXIT has elicited expressions of wounded outrage from European intellectuals emotionally invested in the current European Project. Some have contented themselves with name-calling by denouncing British voters as shortsighted bigots manipulated by conservative populists. Disappointment in the outcome of the referendum was so great for others that they have begun asking whether democracy itself might be the problem. If people, the British to be precise, are unable to see what is in their own best interests then perhaps …
mexico might take them
In cities across America – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and New Orleans – in stunning, giddy numbers, millions of Americans streamed into the streets to celebrate President Barack Obama’s executive order Wednesday calling for a “Texit” vote to expel Texas from the union.
The executive order came two days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Texas law to limit the legal rights of women to abortions, and a week after the shocking “Brexit” vote in Great Britain to sever ties to the European Union.
With the 2016 Olympic Games on the horizon, a group of prospective participants are giving the whole business a snub. Golf is returning as an Olympic game after being away since the word sticks was an accurate description for the equipment being used. And many of the top professional players in the world have announced they will not attend. Most are citing the fear of the Zika virus and family concerns, and some are probably happy they have this as a built in excuse.
a civilization-wide challenge
Some commentators have reminded us lately of what originally inspired the nations of Western Europe to move toward unification. The impetus came after two horrific wars, originating in Europe, within the space of thirty years.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, after tens of millions had been killed and with much of Europe in ruins, some visionary European leaders understood the necessity of weaving the nations of Europe into a more whole order enabling its nations able to live together in peace, and to work together for their common good.
adopting a two-round system
Perhaps the only good thing that may be said for the Electoral College is that every four years it relieves most of us of the burden of choosing the lesser of two evils from among major party presidential nominees. Once we know that a clear majority of the other voters in our state will be plumping for the Democrat or the Republican, we are free to vote sincerely rather than a strategically for any candidate that we like. And that includes the nominees of third parties. Blame the ‘winner take all’ rule …
whole woman’s health v. hellerstedt
At year’s end last December, on a radio show in the Shenandoah Valley, I was asked at year’s end for my predictions for the coming year. One prediction I made was that the Court would strike down the Texas abortion law. I thought that the decision might be as much as 6-3 (this was before the death of Scalia), with Chief Justice Roberts joining the majority. My reason was this: whatever a justice might think about abortion, if s/he cares about the authority of the Supreme Court s/he will refuse to accept this Texas law which is clearly an attack on that authority.
Broadcast news coverage of the BREXIT Referendum has been nothing short of catastrophic. So bad is the quality of the journalism that, in keeping with the portmanteau usage, it should from here on be known as JOURNOCAT. Or perhaps INFOSTORT for ‘information distortion.’ Maybe NEWSCHLOCK or FUBARPROP would be more appropriate. You get the idea.
called personal responsibilty
OK, we’ve all been waiting breathlessly for Congress to change the gun-control laws in order to make America safer. My lungs are about to collapse, aren’t yours? I was sure they’d take some action after Orlando, but the votes are in, and guess what? NADA.
So, how about looking at the problem from a whole different perspective? One that takes away the need for laws and court hearings and the involvement of governmental agencies.
Almost a year later, the remarkable words of family members in pain still ring in our ears.
“I forgive you,” one said in a crowded courtroom. “May God have mercy on you,” another added. “Hate won’t win,” said a third.
One after another, five people squeezed by turmoil forgave an accused killer, who stood pancake-faced in shackles in a separate room and watched his bond hearing on a television screen.
exposing hypocrisy & corruption
Amy Goodman hosts a groundbreaking radio news show out of New York City, which is also videocast. She covers news from a non-corporate perspective, extolling what she calls Independent Media. She titled her latest book, Democracy Now, because she says it is the only way she can get her show’s name in the New York Times. If it becomes a best seller (which it has) they sort of have to list it. Otherwise, cover non-corporate news and you’re excluded from the corporate media. You’re not quite respectable…
hyperventilating over bathrooms
North Carolina’s HB 2, aka the “bathroom law,” has provoked outrage and ridicule in equal measure. The feeble defense the law’s supporters are putting up invites speculation about their real agenda. Unless safety concerns track religious belief for some hitherto unnoticed reason, it’s worth wondering why faith-based organizations in particular have been so vocal in raising alarms about the depredations this law is supposed to spare everybody.
satire on the campaign trail
Texas Senator Ted Cruz bucked all political convention Wednesday by naming Carly Fiorina as his running mate instead of one of the five women he’s run around with on the extramarital sex circuit, according to rumors reported in The National Enquirer.
“You figure they had leg up on Fiorina,” quipped one Cruz source. “Turns out maybe Ted isn’t as big a leg man as everybody thought.”
Indeed, according to another source close to Cruz, the conservative evangelical Christian senator chose Fiorina to quash rumors of his extramarital sexual escapades by “picking a woman nobody in America could imagine even Ted Cruz would have sex with.
rome rejects hate:
What should a citizen do when neo-Nazis announce that they intend to invade your town? That is the question now facing the people of Rome, Georgia. For some the initial response to the impending occupation of their quiet North Georgia community by a hate group from Michigan was to plan to hide and pray that the threat just goes away. Every schoolyard bully knows that denial and pusillanimity are powerful temptations. Fascists and white supremacists count on the paralysis that it produces. Fortunately some Romans didn’t give into the temptations of moral cowardice and instead decided to organize…
Several shootings lately. Today it’s in Virginia at a Richmond Greyhound Bus Terminal.
Fortunately, no need to panic. As quick as you can scream “Active shooter, shelter in place!” the news stations pounced, emphatically stating “this is not terrorism!”
Whew, for a minute I thought this was something serious.
The local news and CBS categorically stated “There is no link to terrorism that we know of….
While Americans are somewhat thunderstruck by an independently wealthy person, like Donald Trump jumping headlong into the presidential race, and gaining traction, it’s happened in other places in the world.
One recent ego-centered and financially independent figure on the world scene to seek political power was mightily successful. We refer to former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, who led Italy for nine years through four cabinets, often embarrassing that country with his escapades and outright peccadilloes, and was eventually forced to resign.
make america great again
Exasperated that its latest stratagem to derail the candidacy of Donald Trump – getting Jeb Bush to endorse Ted Cruz – has failed, mainly because Cruz is even more repugnant to most Republicans than the bellicose billionaire, the GOP is shifting its battle plan to subtle understatement.
It’s going to distribute Trump campaign caps, “Make America Great Again,” translated into German (“Machen America Wieder Groß”) free to supporters to wear to campaign rallies in remaining primary states, hoping they get the hint.
A GOP source admitted subtle is risky with Republicans.
There’s poetic justice in Trump’s rise to the top of the GOP presidential field. The GOP is reaping precisely what it has sown.
One might indulge in Schadenfreude if the stakes weren’t so high. America teeters on the brink of fascism, and no one can confidently predict which way the chips will fall.
Trump has essentially effected a “hostile takeover” of the Grand Old Party. How the GOP enabled Trump is the subject of Time‘s March 21 feature story “The Party’s Over.” The article – by Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center – is surprisingly candid…
the ncaa sham
Just in case you missed this, Ben Simmons has decided to forego the balance of his college experience and declare himself for the NBA draft.
This is a shock on par with hearing Donald Trump insult someone.
Simmons is another of the famous one and done, athletes who accept a college basketball scholarship with no intention of staying more than a year before leaving for the pros.
credit where credit is due
Of course. Why didn’t I see this before? It’s as plain as the nose on your face and becoming clearer every day.
Didn’t we all smirk when ‘the Donald’ stated that he’d get Mexico to pay for the wall to keep their people from crossing into our country illegally?
When the President of Mexico replied with a firm, “Huh-uh, not on your life,” we agreed, declaring, “And you shouldn’t”!
guns on campus
According to recent reports, members of the Georgia General Assembly are scrambling to respond to Governor Deal’s reservations about HB 859, the “campus carry” bill, now on his desk. The bill permits students at least 21 years old with concealed weapons permits to possess firearms anywhere on the state’s public college campuses except residence halls, fraternities, sororities, and athletic events.
It’s no wonder legislators are confused. A couple of weeks ago, Governor Deal airily dismissed arguments against the legislation as “lacking validity.” In recent days, however, he’s become persuaded that the bill has to be substantially revised…
jury of peers to decide
St. Petersburg – The $100 million Hulk Hogan sex video case, upon which all freedom of speech in the Internet Age is said to hang, appeared to take a sudden turn Thursday morning in the direction of making all celebrity sex videos fair game for the worldwide web.
An appeals court ruled that FBI files had to be unsealed and made public and these files were rumored to be so devastating they would destroy Hogan’s case against the gossip site he is suing, Gawker, for posting a video in 2012 of him having sex with the wife of his best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge.
Donald Trump has been called a “buffoon.” That’s a mistake. “Buffoon” implies foolish, stupid. But Donald Trump possesses a kind of genius: He’s a genius at getting attention for himself.
One might say that the quest for attention – more than “making deals” — has been the driving force in Trump’s life. And for decades, he has succeeded in getting considerable public attention. But it is only in recent months that he’s demonstrated how extraordinary is his ability to seize – and hold – the spotlight.
stranger than fiction
St. Petersburg – When Hulk Hogan, the former professional wrestler whose real name is Terry Bollea, took the witness stand Tuesday in his $100 million civil trial against the gossip site Gawker, there’s a good chance he wasn’t expecting to have to admit under oath he doesn’t have a 10-inch penis.
But, on the other hand, in this suit, who knows?
Maybe lawyers had prepped him.
like no one else
Writer Pat Conroy, who died Friday night, had a way with words that can only be described as an incredible gift. Perhaps no one more aptly painted word pictures of love, loss, beauty, yearning, pain, grief and aspiration.
Whether fiction or memoir, Conroy could tell a story like no one else. Just read his ebullient description of the inimitable author and chef Nathalie Dupree, the subject of the first chapter of his cookbook, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life: “Nathalie’s voice is deep and musical and seductive…
OK, I have an apology to MSNBC. I watched the Republican debate on FOX last night, and I liked it. Megyn Kelly was fantastic. I mean, I used to scream every time the channel was on FOX news in public places (because the remote is forbidden from stopping there at home), but recently I have been watching with glee as they try to make sense of the present primary picnic (especially turd blossom, who is doing his best to pimp Rubio).
we are so fired
Donald Trump’s relentless promise to Make America Great Again carried him through the Republican primaries with surprising efficiency. He beat Marco Rubio in the Midwest, easily carried Florida and the West, and fought off a late entry by Michael Bloomberg. The Republican convention became a pep rally for the dissatisfied, and his surprise choice for his vice presidential running mate was the final blow to any mainstream Republican hopes.
In a caustic and bombastic general election, Trump’s strength multiplied while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton fought a tight but eventually losing battle…
side effects of life
Have you noticed the long string of warnings in TV commercials for prescription drugs?
How could you miss it? It’s downright scary. Takes up half of the evening news. The drug companies know their audience, don’t they? Only geezers watch TV news. News has not yet become relevant to the young. (But just wait, young people!)
I’m afraid to go see a doctor anymore. I might wind up with one of those prescriptions. Their side effects sound riskier than the ailment.
Have you made up your mind which presidential candidate you’ll be voting for? If you haven’t, the presidential preference primary is just one week off, on March 1. So think speedily. You must decide soon!
At least what seemed like innumerable Republican candidates has been thinned seriously, with former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, exiting last week…
In 2012, Americans engaged in the constitutional process for deciding who would get the powers of the presidency.
In that election, millions of us Americans won an important right: to have our guy name the person to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court if any were to open up. We won it fair and square.
We can talk about the president’s constitutional responsibilities and privileges, but ultimately this about the rights of us American citizens who participate in the American electoral process.
spooky action at a distance
I am now exclusively occupied with the problem of gravitation, and hope, with the help of a local mathematician friend, to overcome all the difficulties. One thing is certain, however, that never in my life have I been quite so tormented. A great respect for mathematics has been instilled within me, the subtler aspects of which, in my stupidity, I regarded until now as pure luxury. — Albert Einstein
The year was 1906. The previous year, Albert Einstein, a lowly examiner in the patent office of Bern, Switzerland, had laid five golden eggs in the form of scientific papers…