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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.
moronic public displays
Everything is indeed bigger in Texas, and now that slogan can also apply to moronic public displays of intimidation. The New York Times reported today on an armed protest outside a suburban restaurant this past weekend. From NYT: “A small meeting of a group seeking tougher gun laws was interrupted Saturday at a suburban Dallas restaurant when the woman who helped organize it saw something outside that startled her: at least two dozen men and women in the parking lot with shotguns, hunting rifles, AR-15s and AK-47s…
Between the commemorative magazines at grocery checkouts evoking “Camelot” and the early-bird TV specials – JFK: The Smoking Gun, Killing Kennedy and Capturing Oswald, to name just three – it’s hard to miss the fact that the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is fast approaching. By midnight on November 22, there will have been more than 20 newly produced assassination specials, including a History Channel offering that promises to be “definitive.”
how to keep defeating them
Good for you for standing your ground. I hope you’ve noticed how useful, for the overall political picture, it has been for you to hold firm and leave this Republican Party exposed as the reckless, anti-democratic, warlike force it has become.
Helping the American people see clearly the nature of the force that’s taken over that Party is and remains Job One, because none of the other important tasks that confront us as a nation can be tackled successfully so long as they retain the power to prevent good things from being accomplished.
affordable care act
As the government shutdown drags on and America creeps ever closer to yet another economic catastrophe, it is important to clarify a few things about the sole focus of House Republicans’ full-scale obstruction. Most realize that the government shutdown is a direct result of a desperate effort to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but it is worth explaining exactly what it is that extremist Republicans are trying to stop.
colors against the shadows
The American marten’s body this morning had lost its lustrous sheen my wife Jody and I had marveled at yesterday when our dogs found it in the woods just off our drive. In the eighteen years I have lived here, this is only the second marten I’ve seen. I only got a glimpse of the first one years ago as he darted down off a rock and disappeared alongside the stream. We have no idea what killed this one, although we have coyotes and fox here who are natural predators.
it's out there
I’ve had enough. Really. Enough. I’ve tried so hard not to write about this shutdown thing, not to even think about it. But it’s not working. Every day, it’s some new idiocy. The latest, Florida Republican Congressman Dennis Ross, telling us the GOP can’t back down now because of “pride.”
At what point will the rank-and-file of the Republican Party determine that the extreme right wing of their party is about to take their party down? The “don’t compromise at any price” GOP element seems intent to getting their way, no matter what, though this may seriously harm any effort by the mainstream Republican Party to move toward the center on any issue. It may blow the Republicans out of the water in the next election.
health insurance marketplace
As we creep ever closer to the day that 48,600,000 uninsured Americans have been waiting so long for… October first. The day the national insurance exchanges will open. The day that Teapuglicans have fought so tirelessly to prevent. It is time we were reminded of just how ruthlessly stupid our state leaders are. Perhaps, that isn’t fair. Maybe they are not stupid, just uninformed. Or perhaps, they are betting we are.
Perhaps Governor Nathan Deal and his insurance commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, have as their heroes the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.
History recalls all of these prominent figures hell-bent on insisting that their individual states could “nullify” acts of Congress, and not pay attention to the laws of the United States. They saw nullification as a remedy when they felt the Federal Government as reaching too far and absorbing the powers of the individual states.
man of peace
I read your op-ed in The New York Times yesterday, and your decision to push your message through America’s most widely read news source still baffles me. I can only assume you were attempting to reach the American people. But why? Americans do not support military action in Syria in the first place. Do you even read The New York Times?
Hard as it is to believe, we almost went to war because our president “issued” a metaphor. And how exactly do you “issue” a metaphor anyway? Our president knew it wasn’t an actual red line since he said it and didn’t draw it, but had it been real, couldn’t we have just gotten an eraser out, or just started with a clean slate? Oops, a clean slate is a metaphor – not something real. Fortunately for us and especially fortunate for those in Syria who would have been blown to paradise for being inside the metaphorical red line… damn, there I go again.
Failure is written all over the Joint Statement on Syria issued on September 6th meeting of the Group of 20 in St. Petersburg. Only 11 of the 20 leaders present – the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Saudi Arabia – signed on to the condemnation of Damascus. Thus the opposite of the international moral consensus that is supposed to be the foundation of international law.
Worse from the standpoint of the Obama administration, the text of the statement does not endorse military action.
long, long way to go
One thousand and fifty eight words and not a single one was “dream.” That’s how far Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was into his famous 1963 speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before he gave voice to the phrase that would crystallize a movement, personify his too-short time on earth, and cast his legacy that would endure long past the final echoes of an assassin’s gunshot disappeared into the Memphis night.
stinginess of the working class
Although it is years late to the party, the Wall Street Journal is finally acknowledging the negative impact that low wages have on the American economy, albeit in a twisted, delusional manner. A front page graph from Monday’s WSJ shows the decline in employee wages since 2010. The caption underneath the graph reads:
“Economists fret that stagnant wages are hampering growth in the U.S. as consumers, the biggest driver of the economy, are reluctant to spend more unless their pay grows. Workers think they can’t push for raises because they feel they have limited bargaining power.”
Once upon a time, almost no women held any kind of political office unless it had to do with children or schools. Even then, the higher up and top offices were always held by men. If you are young, you may wonder why this was so. Why was our country — on every level of government and business — not using half of the adult population to run things? Why waste all that brain power?
Why don’t Cumming city officials use e-mail?
A bunch of old white men run Cumming, the Forsyth County seat. Last year, Mayor H. Ford Gravitt created a controversy by ejecting a citizen who was videotaping a City Council meeting–in clear violation of Georgia’s open meetings act. Politifact even weighed in on the case.
Fortunately, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has gotten involved to enforce the law, but old ways die hard up in the hills…
in good we trust
I have been completely unable to write since July 20. OK, really July 16 because July 20 was just me moping because Helen Thomas died. That’s more than a month. I’ve taken a vacation since that time. Spent a week at the beach, watching birds. Sun, sand, salt water and seafood. Driving with the top down. Friends. Still, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I look inside, and I am completely empty. I see something outrageous and the best I can muster is a decidedly un-outrageous “Meh.”
it's a rip
The Georgia legislature, in its great (yawn) wisdom, saw fit to grant Georgia Power the power to charge us ratepayers in advance for two nuclear reactors. The 16 billion dollar plus reactors are under construction at Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River just south of Augusta. CWIP (Construction Work in Progress) was passed as the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act.
In testifying at the committee level many citizens argued against the proposal brought by a legislator, known technically as a lapdog.
Tennessee’s third largest city is quite conservative, as larger cities go. That’s to be expected for a town in the most conservative part of one of the country’s most conservative states. But something a little different has taken place in Knoxville, and now a city once known for its coal-produced gray haze has dramatically reduced its carbon footprint and become one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country for green jobs. And it all started on the watch of an oilman mayor’s watch. This is the story of how that came about, and how it’s still happening.
Profound technological changes have compelled us to rethink the proper boundaries of privacy. Email, internet and other technology changed the ways ordinary Americans communicate with each other and their world. Technology, such as the government’s Prism program, has enlarged the government’s means of surveillance. It’s a new game. We need new rules.
Just plain ignorant: House Speaker John Boehner issued a second scathing rebuke of fellow republican Rep. Steve King after the Iowa Republican stood by his idiotic comments characterizing most young undocumented immigrants as “drug mules.” Boehner blowtificated “I want to be clear, (after years of making incredibly stupid comments himself) there’s no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials.
right to privacy
All of a sudden, Congress is having second thoughts. The New York Times reports that the strategy of letting the National Spy Agencies build haystacks to look for needles is going to be reconsidered by Congress. This is good news.
Backers of sweeping surveillance powers now say they recognize that changes are likely, and they are taking steps to make sure they maintain control over the extent of any revisions…
Helen Thomas will always be a hero to me. None of that “shero” stuff. You’re either a hero or you’re not, no special designation if you’re a woman. Helen was a reporter, not a reportrix or a reportress. A reporter, a journalist. A real journalist. She covered 10 — count ‘em — 10 presidents. She questioned John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all with the same sharp, penetrating style that made presidents and press secretaries alike uncomfortable because an honest answer might seem very impolitic.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
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When he gasped to take a breath and to stop swearing in his fractured English, he told her he had a “fucking shit life” and that she was a filthy whore who would die a horrid death. Spitting out more vitriol with each breath, he finished his rant by saying, “You will lose this war.” Perhaps time will, if it hasn’t already, prove him right. Certitude rang out from this Algerian jihadist who had been captured by Afghanistan’s tribal Northern Alliance shortly after the American onslaught following 9/11 . At this point, however, the “interview” was concluded when she said, “That may be, but your Read on →
Sure, it can be fun. Dede, for instance, is a terrific hater. Her favorite verb is “hate.” I hate winter. I hate the Falcons (not just this year). I hate this sink. I hate all the fiction in The New Yorker. But none of this hating amounts to anything. It’s just her vivacious way of expressing herself. My guess is that most of us take our hating a little more seriously, a little more warily. We’ve seen the power and the glory, you might say. I hated a guy I was in graduate school with. No reason. I just did. And I mean Read on →
It’s that time of year again. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about … the holidays. Some see it as the song claims “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … But others among us are just left wondering. First it’s the sugary shock of Halloween. Then it’s surviving the Thanksgiving glutton-fest. Followed by a tsunami of high-octane shopping you can’t afford, partying, last minute gift buying, a morning of exchanging gifts you don’t need, a mad rush to return the gifts you don’t want, more shopping and finally a drunken evening, ending with new year’s resolutions and false resolve to quit your shameful and glut Read on →