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“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…
A recent article in the Journal of Wine Economics by Duquesne University Economics Department associate professor Pavel A. Yakovlev and graduate student Walter P. Guessford offers research findings so obviously pleasing to conservatives that you might wonder whether they were perpetrating a hoax. What their findings show is a positive relationship between measures of the ideological liberalism of a state and measures of how much alcohol was consumed in a state for the years between 1967 and 2010.
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.
in the same boat
In electoral politics, the establishment point of view attracts hefty campaign contributions from the, well, establishment. Conversely, and obviously, anti-establishment points of view do not. Establishment comes in suit and tie, as if to declare the area off-limits to the imagination, though politicians of the female variety, apparently for reasons of their traditional, established, status as decorative objects, are granted some leeway here, a dab of color there. Otherwise, no suit and tie?
physician heal thyself!
When I was in college, the hippie kingdom railed against the hated Military-Industrial Complex. The MIC, they felt sure, was more than happy to wage war in Vietnam and rake in beaucoups of money. Making bombs to make a buck. Oh the outrage. Well where are hippies when you need them?
Today we have another MIC wreaking havoc on us: the Medical-Insurance Complex.
The tipping point of the 2012 presidential election may have been the unauthorized release of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” speech. Preaching to a closed and select group of the well-heeled, Romney complained that 47 percent of Americans “are dependent upon government,” “believe that they are victims,” “believe that government has a responsibility to care for them,” “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing,” and, perhaps worst of all, “pay no income tax.”
“When fascism comes to America it will be carrying a cross and wrapped in the flag.” — attributed to Sinclair Lewis
Dr. Danny Pruett, my dad, passed away peacefully on January 4, his three grown children by his side. He was 90 and had willed himself back from the brink so many times that we began to think him invincible: heart attacks, bypass surgery, hips replacements, ruptured diverticulum and esophagus, multiple abdominal and back surgeries, atrial fibrillation, and more.
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.
our general welfare
President Kennedy famously advised, “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” in his inaugural address. That was a cop-out. After all, the rebellious colonists organized a government to provide for the general welfare. So, for the hireling-in-chief to task his employers, instead of focusing on the duties and obligations he had committed himself to assume, was, to say the least presumptuous. And, since Kennedy was a Democrat, it just goes to show that the role of servant was not foremost in the minds of any of our public officials back in 1960.
I have been looking at those year-end 2013 TV news shows that review everything that happened over the past twelve months. Sure does look like a lot of stuff went down in 2013. A lot of stuff happened that I didn’t even know about when it was going on… sometimes right under my nose. Therein lies my problem Justplainwill. For some reason, this past year I only learned about some of the really important events after they happened…
rights vs. wrongs
The thoughts so well expressed by Mike Cox in Freeing Free Speech once again set me thinking about my own attitudes to this thorny issue. It’s a difficult one for me; on the one hand I’m pretty much against censorship and all for free speech, on the other I despise those who sneer at ‘political correctness’ for no other reason than that it curtails their right to be offensive to people who are different from them.
right to be stupid
I sincerely hope Tommy Jefferson and John Adams and Jim Madison didn’t mean for this to be the end result. A second rate character in a two-bit television show has temporarily become the nation’s moral compass; the linchpin that holds equality together for ourselves and our posterity. Sonofabitch!
First of all, let me emphasize that any TV network that calls itself the “Arts and Entertainment Network” and then runs “Duck Dynasty” marathons weekly needs to reassess direction.
life in the key of stupid
A 16-year-old is avoiding all jail time for killing four people and injuring nine in a drunk-driving accident after his lawyer successfully argued the teen suffers from “affluenza.” Affluenza, you say? You aren’t familiar with that disease? Well, you should be. It is a deadly affliction spreading rapidly into the wealthy conclaves of gated communities … and sadly it strikes only the wealthy.
So a southern evangelical Christian star of a reality TV series about his backwoods family got his ass suspended from said television series (on A&E, in case you’re wondering) for quoting the bible and comparing homosexuality to bestiality and the like. I don’t know which part of that sentence that least surprises me. Maybe the A&E part. Not that the network suspended Phil Robertson, but that he was ever on there to begin with. Or maybe not.
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…
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.
When in the life of a democratic nation it becomes clear that the government has parted ways with the governed and evinces no intention to reform, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that the governed, i.e. the People, should declare in terms both broad and narrow the causes that impel them toward a separation of their own.
We the People hold to be self-evident the same truths that were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence of 1776, chief among them an inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and we remind the nation’s leaders…
the sublime cannibal
“Where is the Love?” Kristof asks in his Thanksgiving column for the New York Times. Thanksgiving is a euphemistic feast. I still haven’t found just the right term to describe cannibals bloodlessly and indirectly destroying and consuming their own kind. Some call it “sacrifice,” but that too is a euphemism. “Symbolic predation” doesn’t work because the injury and destruction are all too real.
representing the ruling class
Way back in 1988, I sat across from Strom Thurmond in his Capitol Hill office in Washington, D.C., and listened as he explained his opposition to federal anti-lynching laws and any other federal encroachment on states’ rights during his long career.
“I felt it was dangerous to shift it all to Washington,” the then-85-year-old U.S. senator and former Dixiecrat presidential candidate from South Carolina told me. “Lynching was nothing but murder. All states had laws against murder. … I’ve never had any feelings against minorities.”
your crazy uncle
Many of us love a good conspiracy theory. Some of us, though, love them more than others. It’s no surprise liberals are more likely to buy into a conspiracy theory critical of the right, or conservatives are more likely to believe one critical of the left. The data supports exactly that, proving we often dare research the obvious. Here I’m going to discuss four specific conspiracy theories, two from each side of the political spectrum, and sketch what a national sample of over 5,000 U.S. adults tells us about who does, and does not, believe in them.
I join these three books because of their common unveiling of who-rules-for-whose-benefit, across cultures and time. Parenti shows an ancient example, the destruction of early Roman Democracy by oligarchic forces. Chomsky illustrates the continuation of plutocracy, or elite rule, in our time, despite and in opposition to the advances of Democracy. Roy provides confirmation that this struggle is international, in this case India.
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…
The green envelope in the photo is only one of 12 new forms necessary to qualify Texas voters (or make their vote “provisional” if they don’t have identical photo ID).
Yesterday I was an elections judge on the Northside suburbs of San Antonio (read: big houses). This was not a heavy voting day, since there were no candidates on the ballot, so the polls were visited primarily by the faithful. Still, it provided insights into what we can look forward to in the future.
stoop to their level
Is being obnoxious catching? My email in-box is currently featuring messages with the following headings:
“Beat the snot out of them.“
“I’m here to kick some Tea Party ass.“
evening with bernie
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Vermont spoke this morning (10/18/13) at a union hall in Atlanta to an enthusiastic full house. The points he made in his talk and the town hall-like Q & A, though pretty wide-ranging, highlighted a couple items: extremist republican ideologues look around and realize, hell, we can’t ask people to vote for us so we can gut social security, medicare-medicade, veterans benefits, ship U.S. jobs to China and cut taxes for the wealthy.
good vs. evil
The American populace is split, nearly right down the middle, on critical issues: abortion, capital punishment, gun control, mandated health care, immigration, national debt, education, social support programs–the list goes on, and on, and on.
In his 1996 book Moral Politics, George Lakoff describes how different views of family structure and morality underlie this split. He claims the idea of a strong, authoritative father underlies conservative views whereas the concept of empathetic, nurturing parents underlies liberal views…
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
That’s what the spouse said when I wrote him how surprised and disappointed I was to discover that Michelle Nunn has gratuitously endorsed the XL pipeline from Canada, because buying oil from “neighbors” is better than from overseas, as well as to read a report that Nunn wants changes to Obamacare to allow cheaper policies for the young. Like they don’t have car accidents and sports injuries, etc? (Read the other day that there’s a chance auto and workmen’s comp insurance rates are going to decrease now that people have health insurance. Ripple effect). He went on to observe that “Kenny and Tracy hav Read on →
"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 for daring to mix the Read on →
A few of us borrowed a friend's cabin up near Blue Ridge and drove up for the weekend, took the scenic route through Dahlonega, Blairsville and up 19 to 76. Something uplifting about the mountains. We navigated those winding roads slower than the traffic behind us would have preferred but it was a safe speed and very visually engaging, what with the roadside leaves gone for winter. The distant ridge lines were accessible to hungry eyes and the slopes themselves were similarly denuded, kind of raw, primeval maybe. Puts you in touch with the old profound being thing that Jung Read on →
Do the 2014 elections look promising for the Democrats? Not so far as I can tell. Do the Democrats have a bold plan to inspire the American people to turn the House back over to them? Not so far as I’ve heard. Is there a solution available? I think there is. We’ve got a Supreme Court that just doubled down on its disgraceful 2010 decision in Citizens United, continuing in the new case (McCutcheon vs. FEC) to pretend to believe that opening the floodgates still wider for big money to flow into our elections does not corrupt our political system. And we’ve got poll Read on →