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Why do so many Americans doubt the scientific consensus about Darwinian evolution and anthropogenic climate change? Although the temptation is to attribute these sentiments simply to religious indoctrination and corporate public relations, feelings of powerlessness and resentment may also be in play.
Consider the large differences in acceptance of different scientific conclusions in March 20-24 AP-GfK Poll. Where a mere 4% of respondents doubt the link between cigarette smoking and lung disease and only 6% doubt that mental illness is a medical condition affecting the brain, fully 42% doubted that life evolved through natural selection and 37% doubted that humans were responsible for global warming…
Politicians from both parties might perform public anguish about the student loan problem but it is painfully obvious that they just don’t get how serious it is. The most recent Congressional legislation tying interest rates on student loans to the several points beyond the interest rates on treasury notes might have looked like an important reform in Washington, where achieving anything bipartisan is hailed a great victory, but not to the 37 million young Americans who are on the hook for more than one trillion dollars in student loans that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. They owe an average of $29,000. In an economy that no longer produces enough decent jobs
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” — Matthew 6:21.
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. made public his opposition to the Vietnam War, articulated in his iconic “Beyond Vietnam” speech. Presented at Riverside Church in New York City, “Beyond Vietnam” was the most controversial speech King ever delivered. In it, he confronted head-on America’s “triple evils” — racism, economic injustice, and militarism — and called for “a radical revolution of values” to restore our nation’s integrity. Afterwards, many supporters, black and white, abandoned him…
can't teach character
Ever hear of “due diligence?” That’s a term often seen in business stories, particularly when public accountants are working at checking the financial background of companies who might want to buy or sell to one another.
Some people at the University of Georgia apparently don’t understand or use the term “due diligence,” especially when it comes to recruiting football players.
40 days in georgia
There’s an exhilaration abounding throughout Georgia today. Hurrah, hurrah, the Georgia General Assembly is no longer in session. You can relax a little more this week. Almost as on cue, the Legislature again got little done. They confused some issues, angered a lot of people, scurried home quickly because of the early elections this year, and in general, accomplished little. But you can bet they did two things: they collected their pay, and put in more time toward their pensions. A compilation of what the lawmakers did this year was presented in the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The one-page list showed only on three items did the Legislature accomplish significant changes, good or bad.
a book review
Eastern Europe and Russia – When the Soviet Union dissolved it left secret police and security personnel suddenly on the outs and without paycheck. Given their skill sets, for many, criminal behavior was the logical next step. The party apparatchiks were often out of work too but some were positioned to advantage. Prior to dissolution, national resources such as oil were sold abroad and the profits fed into the soviet system, keeping it alive…
so patently dishonest
Clever public relations officers working somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon have decided that henceforth the Guantanamo hunger strike will be termed a “long term non-religious fasting.” What’s more, rather than being subjected to forced-feeding the “non-religious fasters” are now being treated to “enteral feedings.” What are we to make of such obvious lexical fig leaves?
That the Crimean Crisis would be exploited by Republican Congressional leaders to criticize President Obama was inevitable. Politics hasn’t stopped at the water’s edge in the United States for a very long time. What wasn’t inevitable was the shamelessness of Senator John McCain’s denunciation of President Obama in a speech to the most powerful ethnic foreign policy lobby in Washington. In a March 4th address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Arizona Republican complained about a “feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”
war in afghanistan
What would winning the War in Afghanistan look like? America has been at war there for 13 years and you would expect that after thousands of casualties and spending immense sums of our tax dollars something that could be deemed victory would have been achieved by now. Instead of that we are presented with soon to be retiring Rep. Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, chiding the America people and President Obama for not wanting to keep fighting the longest war in our history.
union rights are civil rights
Chip Wells, 43, an 11-year veteran at the 5,200-worker Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, says the recent bad news coming out of the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, did nothing to deter him and fellow pro-union Nissan workers from their campaign to join the United Auto Workers. “People think that derailed us,” says Wells, who works in Nissan’s paint department, “but we think it made us stronger.”
taking god's name in vain
HB 1023 and SB 377 are now slithering through the dank halls of Georgia’s government. These bills would allow business owners to openly discriminate against gay Americans by denying them employment or services: banning them from restaurants, hotels etc. (Translation: anybody who wishes to discriminate against someone for any reason need only say that it’s because it’s part of their “personal religion”.) The so-called “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act” would, in effect, permit any individual or for-profit company to ignore Georgia’s anti-discrimination and civil rights laws.
pandering to stupid
I live in Georgia. The General Assembly is in session. It is our annual celebration of stupidity, ignorance, pandering, baiting, and hate. It is open season on history, the Constitution, science, mutual respect, and common sense. It is a loathsome time. 40 days and $20 billion in public cash. One party, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for some. This is an election year and our elected cannot legally accept campaign contributions while in the legislature is in session. The pressure is on in the hurry to protect poor little Georgia from big meanie pants Washington. Blame Obama. Praise Jesus. All hail the NRA and Georgia Carry. Cut taxes, but give give give to bidness.
georgia hb 875
It’s the first day of school. Imagine weepy parents and eager teachers. Imagine clingy children, it’s the first time we leave them in the care of our school. Some kids are thrilled with their new found independence. Now imagine that teacher armed with an AR-15, a lightweight, 5.56 mm, .223-caliber, magazine-fed, air cooled rifle with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation. A weapon we see in the movies. But it’s not a movie. It’s Georgia and it could be real, with passage of HB 875.
“This we know: the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” — Chief Seattle, 1854
On January 31, the Department of State issued its environmental assessment of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline. If built, the KXL will transport petroleum from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to a neighborhood near you. At least that’s the hype. The safe bet is that the oil will be sold to the highest bidder…
useless on ice
A dozen years ago, during the early spring, I was visiting my son in Pennsylvania. Among the scheduled activities was an opportunity to see my ten year old grandson play basketball that Saturday at the local YMCA. Upon rising that morning and peering out the bedroom window, I felt a tinge of disappointment. A dusting of snow had come during the night. I walked down to get coffee and expressed my regret to my son. He looked at me with surprise and confusion until he realized what I meant.
What is it with Republican governors and traffic jams? Up in New Jersey, we’ve got Chris Christie’s staff ordering up some “traffic problems” for Fort Lee, perhaps as a prank, and in Atlanta, Georgia, we’ve got Nathan Deal and the Mayor of Atlanta hosting each other at lunch while the traffic all around the city flops around in slush.
something is wrong
The state of the Union is crap. 20% of the country is doing OK. 1% is doing fantastically. 0.001% is doing so well it’s criminal, literally. They don’t own everything yet but they do own all the politicians, judges, regulators, academics, and reporters. So they’re getting there. The other 80%, the rubes, the muppets, the serfs, are mired in an undeclared, ongoing depression. 50 years on I can safely state that the War on Poverty has been won. The poor have been defeated, the middle class conquered.
I wouldn’t be writing about this now but for the 1996 Olympic Games. They were in Atlanta, you may recall, although probably the only thing you remember is the bomb Eric Robert Rudolph planted at Centennial Olympic Park. We didn’t know that at the time. Instead, we all blamed a luckless security guard who probably kept the death toll at one when he spotted Rudolph’s bomb. But before that, there was Cobb County.
not so lame duck
The phrase “media bias” is used when someone does not agree with how a news organization presented a story. News organizations themselves accuse other news agencies of various biases, particularly with regard to where an organization falls along the liberal-conservative continuum. Fox News accuses the mainstream media, of which Fox apparently is not a part, of a liberal bias. So-called progressive organizations such as MSNBC accuse Fox News of having a conservative bias. When it comes to media bias, point an accusatory finger in any direction and you’ll likely hit a target.
anti-families with children
What do Johnny and Saxby and Lindsey have in common with the ladies from New Hampshire and Maine, Kelly and Susan? The U.S. Senators, Isakson, Chambliss and Graham, along with a handful of others, couldn’t wait to gum up the longterm unemployment compensation legislation, so they attached themselves to number one amender, Senator Ayotte.
The Hawk has come South and Hell has frozen over.
I can’t prove these two events scientifically but I am very sure both happened in the last few days. Suddenly, the area to the south of the Mason-Dixon line is the freeze-framed Land of Petrified Cold. Mother Nature has turned into a frigid, heartless, cold-blooded shrew.
It hasn’t been this cold since…
Dear Fate (aka Pure Dumb Luck): A few days back, out of what must have been millions upon millions of contest entrants, you choose to smile broadly on a lady living in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Statisticians tell us that ‘Ms. Stone Mountain Big Winner Lady’ (not her real name) has a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Powerball Lottery. Ms. Lady is extraordinarily lucky TWICE last week then. First, she doesn’t get struck by an electric bolt out of the blue yonder and second, she wins ONE HUNDRED TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!
ebenezer would be proud
Jack Kingston, the Republican representative from Georgia’s first district and esteemed member of the Republican theme team, has apparently decided that, if he wants to be a viable candidate for the United States Senate, he’s got to get himself some press coverage. Since he’s not a novice, we have to assume that targeting the children’s lunches is not an accident. According to Daniel Molloy, writing for the Atlanta Journal Constitution Kingston said: “On the Agriculture Committee we have jurisdiction over the school lunch…
those who forget the past
Will the Republicans nominate Chris Christie for president in 2016? The presidential politics of 1860 provide an answer, my premise being that the spirit that drives the Republican Party in our times is a re-emergence of the spirit that drove the South in the years leading up to the Civil War.
sacred economics to heal
Pope Francis’ recent encyclical is sending shock waves around the world. In addition to exhortations to the faithful, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) packs a scathing critique of “unbridled” capitalism and consumerism. Here’s the flavor of the Pope’s message:
Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.
Nothing is as it seems in the land of the Cons. We’ve got to remember that. Sometimes it seems that, regardless of the issue, con men have to deceive, even if it means cutting off their own noses or, if they happen to be politicians, the noses of the constituents they expect to vote for them. If that makes no sense, it is still a fact in the twenty states where Governors, no doubt on the advice of their Representatives in Congress, are rejecting the extra dollars that would extend health care to people not earning enough to afford even subsidized insurance policies.
engaged in the drama
Last week Americans saw heavy media coverage of the death 50 years ago of President John F. Kennedy. I couldn’t help but compare the aftermath and funeral of JFK with that of Abraham Lincoln, both victims of assassins.
One reason this came to mind is because I had just finished a year-long project — reading Carl Sandburg’s six volume biography of Lincoln.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
The tiny old man wheezed and warned me to leave him alone since he was just looking for a wall to lean against. He was an examination of human frailty, revealed in blurred and jagged fragments. He told me to beware of joy. Thus ended another of my dreams that left me a bit shaken and in need of understanding. In some of my dreams, such as this one, everything is frequently miniaturized and even immaterial as if -- in the words of Patrick Modiano, this year's winner of the Nobel Prize for literature -- "to suggest that any visions, grand or Read on →
Summary: Why does that the line from Yeats apply to America in our times? "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are filled with a passionate intensity." One important reason is that the battle playing out in our politics is fundamentally a moral and spiritual battle, and while the right is connected to their moral and spiritual passions (even though that connection has been made on the basis of lies) Liberal America is not. Much of that disconnection in Liberal America is due misguided beliefs, including: 1) that "value" is not really real, and 2) that there is nothing in Read on →
When you get interested in painting you naturally look around to see what others who got this bug have done. Finding out what painters are doing in the U.S. today is like listening to rock on the radio. You have to wade through a lot of “forgettables” before you hear one that will be an “oldie” in ten years. Museums show oldies. Most of their collections have been filtered. The forgettables have been thrown out. On this painting journey you will run across an opinion that painting is dead, irrelevant, old paradigm. You can ignore that, and be sure you will en Read on →
Summary: Liberal America does not perceive well the nature of the force that's taken over the right. Not perceiving what we're up against has enormous consequences, because understanding one's foe - its nature, its way of working, the disposition of its forces - has enormous implications for devising the best strategy for defeating it. Providing a good understanding of what it is we are up against is one of the central purposes of this "Press the Battle" series. *******I've undertaken to present this "Press the Battle" series because, believing it might make an important contribution, I feel a moral obligation Read on →