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Saturday, August 23, 2014
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    Cochran's Mississippi Victory

    Part 1: Fresh Evidence of Tea Party Unhingedness

    by | Jun 27, 2014
    Part 1: Fresh Evidence of Tea Party Unhingedness

    We often hear about the disconnect from reality on the right. Paul Krugman keeps exclaiming about the way his peers as professional economists, who are on the right, continue to generate zombie ideas (disproved but never die) and refuse to recognize when they’ve been proven wrong– contrary to every value of intellectual integrity that Krugman holds dear.

    Here at Blue Virginia, Lowell Feld tells us, again and again between parentheses in the morning news report, how bat**** crazy so much of what we see on the right (think E.W. Jackson) is.

     

     

    faustian bargain

    No Matter the Party Name, Everyone is Drinking Whiskey

    by | Jun 26, 2014
    No Matter the Party Name, Everyone is Drinking Whiskey

    Something very interesting and, perhaps, very important happened in Mississippi last Tuesday. By now, everyone reading this knows that US Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi pulled out a remarkable victory in the Mississippi Republican primary for the Senate. He did so by increasing the number of black votes he received between the initial primary two weeks ago and the run off by something over 13,000 votes. 

     

     

    the choice is ours

    Soft Landing or Crash and Burn?

    by | Jun 25, 2014
    Soft Landing or Crash and Burn?

    Not until 1804 did the Earth’s human population first exceed one billion. Between 1804 and 2014, a 210-year period spanning just three consecutive human lifetimes, population skyrocketed: to 2 billion in 1927, 4 billion in 1974, and 7 billion at the end of 2011. What spurred such explosive growth?

    It’s not accidental that the Homo sapiens explosion coincided with the advent of the Industrial Age…

     

     

    overwhelming consensus

    When Is the Science Settled?

    by | Jun 20, 2014
    When Is the Science Settled?

    “Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ [linking smoking with disease] that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy….” (Internal 1969 document of Brown & Williamson, a tobacco company, outlining their strategy to undermine medical science linking tobacco to cancer and heart disease)

    I belong to a progressive faith community that is deeply concerned about the state of the Earth…

     

     

    inviting corruption

    Muffin Bribe

    by | Jun 16, 2014
    Muffin Bribe

    Is it possible for citizens to be bribed for their votes by a muffin and/or a couple of slices of pizza? I sure hope not. In my case, I was really put off by Comcast and “Ready for Hillary” getting access to New Hampshire Democrats at their state convention via an infusion of callories for breakfast and lunch. It’s hard to know what the party staff were thinking when they invited Comcast to make a fifteen minute presentation and the Hillary people comcast a full hour to flog her book. “Hard Choices” is a phrase no Democrat should use, since it inevitably means that someone other than the chooser is in for a tough time.

     

     

    educator's lament: part 3

    Stakes of Our Educational Demise

    by | Jun 13, 2014
    Stakes of Our Educational Demise

    You have to be confused before you can reach a new level of understanding anything.”D. Herschbach (Harvard University chemist and Nobel laureate)

    In the summer of 2007, I attended “Boot Camp for Profs” in Leadville, Colorado. For an entire week, a maverick team of educators from multiple disciplines — geology, chemistry, education, biology, and psychology among others — bombarded 30 college and university professors with the theory and practice of learning.

     

     

    educator's lament: part 2

    Causes of Our Educational Demise

    by | Jun 10, 2014
    Causes of Our Educational Demise

    “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”Wm. Butler Yeats

    In the previous two posts — In Defense of Light and Magic and An Educator’s Lament: Part I — I argued that education is 1) the guardian of liberty, 2) the cornerstone of democracy, and 3) under siege in America. Today, we’ll delve into why. The primary culprits include neglect, austerity, anti-intellectual/anti-science attitudes, good intentions gone awry, and malevolence aforethought.

     

     

    states have choice

    Obama’s carbon emissions directive could become a master stroke

    by | Jun 9, 2014
    Obama's carbon emissions directive could become a master stroke

    The politics surrounding climate change is getting warmer.

    President Obama has caused quite a ripple in this arena with his proposals to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent. He has taken a back door step to remove this issue from the do-nothing Congress, and exercised his executive power under the Clean Air Act to move toward fewer carbon emissions.

     

     

    news dump

    Rayonier — Splitting the un-Real from the Real

    by | Jun 5, 2014
    Rayonier -- Splitting the un-Real from the Real

    Like an amoeba, Rayonier is splitting, but not in the interest of promoting organic existence. Rather, the real transformative and productive endeavors, which informed the operations of the original corporation to convert trees into paper and other useful products, is being left behind, as the new moniker, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Inc., is clearly designed to disguise, in the interest of promoting speculation in Real Estate development. I suppose we could say it’s a matter of separating the doers from the seers.

     

     

    educator's lament: part 1

    Symptoms of Our Educational Demise

    by | Jun 3, 2014
    National Lampoon's Animal House

    “A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives.” James Madison

    Education is the cornerstone of democracy. The writings of both Madison and Jefferson are chock full of admonitions that only a generally enlightened public can hold at bay the forces of tyranny.

     

     

    pluff mud slinging

    Republicans are lazy

    by | May 27, 2014
    Image: Bloody Marsh St. east of Simons Island by Ralph Daily

    If it’s hard, their solution is to just not do it. Maybe it’s only Republicans in Georgia that react that way. Jack Kingston, who’s now seeking a seat in the United States Senate, the gentleman’s club, complained bitterly when the Democractic Speaker of the House decreed that that body would be in session five days a week. More recently, Kingston has been joined by Judson Turner, the Director of the state’s Environmental Protection Division, who determined that protecting the marshes from pollution and sediment intrusion was just too hard and just wrote the whole thing off.

     

     

    christian wrong

    What Kind of Christianity is This?

    by | May 27, 2014
    What Kind of Christianity is This?

    In the past several decades, a major force has entered the American political arena under an explicitly Christian banner. I’m talking about the Christian Right, which has aligned itself with the Republican Party. Has this alliance advanced the values that Jesus taught?

    Jesus advocated for the poor and the outcast, and castigated mostly the privileged and the mighty. Today’s vociferous Christian political force supports the party that cuts programs to feed the hungry and to lift up the downtrodden, while protecting the interests of the fabulously wealthy.

     

     

    see the evil

    Another Glaring Example of Failing to ‘Call It Out’

    by | May 19, 2014
    Another Glaring Example of Failing to 'Call It Out'

    In today’s Washington Post, there’s an excellent op/ed about a threat to the integrity of our nation’s judicial system. That is, the piece is excellent but for one glaring omission.

    Entitled “Keep politics out of the courthouse,” it is written by retired Chief Justices of two of our states’ Supreme Courts, Ruth McGregor of Arizona and Robert D. Orr of Indiana. McGregor and Orr give three examples of how altogether inappropriate kinds of political pressure have lately been brought to bear upon our “independent” judiciary.

     

     

    ignoring the central battle

    Leaderless America

    by | May 16, 2014
    Leaderless America

    Usually, the President of the United States is the leader of the nation. It is a hugely important position, a single person embodying the whole of one of our three branches of government. With hundreds of congresspeople and a hundred senators, the president is the one person whose voice gets heard.It is only the president who has the “bully pulpit.” Particularly at times of national crisis, the president is the person to whom the nation turns for leadership.

     

     

    our nature?

    Living and Dying With The Wild-Eyed Gods Of War

    by | May 11, 2014
    Living and Dying With The Wild-Eyed Gods Of War

    I recently got embroiled with a friend over the eternal question of why nations go to war and whether the drive to fight is so embedded in our nature that we cannot avoid war. He shrugged off the question, since he felt it was kind of a silly issue. Of course, mankind will always be at one’s throat for one reason or another. Been that way since cave man days and will go on throughout the future. This response seemed so cavalier to me, a cynic’s view of everyday news…

     

     

    2 presidents from illinois

    Lincoln & Obama: Same Basic Challenge, Very Different Responses

    by | May 5, 2014
    Lincoln-Obama Comparison by Bryan Eaton from http://wallpapersinhq.com/46078-The_comparison/

    Lincoln was elected president of the United States, but suddenly found himself effectively president of only a part of it. Obama was elected president of the United States, but suddenly found himself president of only a part of it.

    Lincoln had just recently become president when Fort Sumter was fired upon. Obama had just recently become president when the other major political party “fired” upon him, planting rumors that he was not qualified to be president, trying to make him fail regardless of what he proposed.

    The two presidents faced analogous challenges. But responded to them differently.

     

     

    another installment

    Untold History of U.S.: The Reagan Years

    by | Apr 30, 2014
    Untold History of U.S.: The Reagan Years

    The 40 page section covering the Reagan Years in Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s book, The Untold History of the United States, provides enough documentation of chicanery, hypocrisy, doublespeak and sociopathy to confirm in spades those of us who were appalled at the time and to turn around all but the most dedicated Reaganites. These will flee into ever deeper depths of denial in order to keep mythology intact. So, while they stop reading, let us consider some of the disgraceful aspects and consequences of that time.

     

     

    civic engagement

    Who should be Georgia’s GOP Senate nominee?

    by | Apr 29, 2014
    Who should be Georgia's GOP Senate nominee?

    Who should Democrats and Independents vote for in the May 20 Republican U.S. Senate Primary?  Before recoiling at the seemingly inappropriate nature of this question, please consider the following. Michelle Nunn appears to have the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat locked up.  Unless voters want to cast votes in contested races further down the ballot there is little reason to participate in the Democratic primary beyond the public display of civic virtue.

     

     

    man-made "improvements"

    I hate planning!

    by | Apr 27, 2014
    I hate planning!

    Never mind that in the U.S. it has been become all the rage, since the supposed cradle of central planning, the U.S.S.R., crumbled. That raises suspicion about the sincerity of the opponents to begin with, but might be explained as a simple case of rivalry rearing its head. More worrisome is the realization that, in terms of man’s well being, failure may be what planning ultimately aims for.

    In other words, planning on a grand scale looks to be designed to destroy the population for whom it claims to provide…

     

     

    pathological ignorance

    Delusion despite logic and evidence

    by | Apr 27, 2014
    Delusion despite logic and evidence

    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…

     

     

    part two

    America by the Numbers

    by | Apr 23, 2014
    America by the Numbers

    “Government should prevent an immoderate accumulation of riches.” — James Madison

    In a previous post, we revisited Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “Beyond Vietnam” speech of April 4, 1967. King, confronting head-on America’s “triple evils” of racism, economic injustice and militarism, challenged America to find its true values and “come home.” Polls and statistics suggest that, in the 47 intervening years, America has not “come home” and sadly is further from home than ever.

     

     

    indentured students

    Writing Off A Generation

    by | Apr 20, 2014
    Writing Off A Generation

    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

     

     

    part one

    America by the Numbers

    by | Apr 15, 2014
    America by the Numbers

    “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…

     

     

    stupidity and crime of war

    Way Stations To Heaven

    by | Apr 14, 2014
    Way Stations To Heaven

    Before I fell asleep last night, my wife Jody read aloud to me from her copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s book The Lacuna. The passage she chose was a diary entry that opened:

    “Tonight’s news: the Allies broke open the dikes along the Netherlands coast, letting in the open sea and drowning thousands of German soldiers in the flood. Like the Azteca opening dikes to drown Cortés and his men on the shores of Lake Tenochtitlan. But fiction is nonsense, the war is real. Tomorrow the farmers of Walcheren will wake to see a tide standing over their crops, the floating corpses of their cattle, every tree in the land scalded dead by the salt on its roots. The glory of war is so frequently disappointing.”

     

     

    speculation

    ‘Not everyone named Michelle is a loser’

    by | Apr 11, 2014
    'Not everyone named Michelle is a loser'

    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.

     

     

    2014 and beyond

    Dems should run on campaign finance constitutional amendment

    by | Apr 11, 2014
    Dems should run on campaign finance constitutional amendment

    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.

     

     

    toxic greed

    They Would Fix It If They Could

    by | Apr 2, 2014
    They Would Fix It If They Could

    The modern oil industry, vertically integrated exploration, extraction, refining and distribution of oil on a mass scale, began no later than 1825 in Tsarist Russia. In 1825 Russia produced 3500 tons of crude and refined it, mostly into kerosene. By 1850 the Russian output had doubled to over 7000 tons. By 1906 Russia had a pipeline over 400 miles long stretching from the oil fields in Azerbaijan to the Black Sea port of Batumi, the first major pipeline in the world.

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



  • Also on the Dew

    One Circumstance Of Dignity

    One Circumstance Of Dignity

    By: Jeff Cochran

    Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed Dignity never been photographed Or so Bob Dylan says in "Dignity," a song he wrote in 1988 after learning of the death of basketball great Pete Maravich. Dylan has a point. Dignity isn't an item or commodity that can be replicated and mass-produced. It's a quality of fortitude and bearing, guiding one on how to respond whether the news is good or bad. The one possessed with dignity feels for others and thinks carefully on the consequences of his actions. Sometimes a dignified action doesn't pay off materially. It can also be misunderstood.  Read on →

    Do Unto Others, Before They…?

    Do Unto Others, Before They...?

    By: Will Cantrell

    "Blah, blah, blah..., sir." All I really hear is the "sir." It's the cashier at the sparkling new CVS who first catches my ear. "'Course, she's wearing glasses.  Maybe the lenses are fogged over and her vision's obscured," I consider. She's mistaken me for someone older. "Honest mistake...could happen to anybody," I mumble under my breath. Several days later, a new check-out person at Roger's Fine Food and Spirits gives me the quick once-over and instantly coughs up the 5% Senior discount. Doesn't even ask me if I'm a senior. Bernice, the regular cashier, always asks. I bet this newbie is giving 5% t  Read on →

    Her Grandpa’s Apple

    Her Grandpa's Apple

    By: David Evans

    The apple was no ordinary apple. It was a Red Delicious and it had been cut in two and shared with her some fifty years ago. The man who cut it was her grandpa and he was confined to a wheelchair soon to die of multiple sclerosis. She and he were alone in the house and he rolled his wheelchair up to the refrigerator, managed to get an apple out, and then expertly used his pocket knife to cut it in two and then scoop out the seeds, coring it before sharing it with her. Back in those days on  Read on →

    True Blue Georgia

    True Blue Georgia

    By: Monica Smith

    That's how the attendees at the Glynn County Democrats' Annual Dinner want everyone to think about our state. Georgia is a democratic state. Republican rule is just a blip, the result of Democrats being too generous and thinking the other side ought to have a chance to win. That, in a nutshell, was the message from the five candidates and two surrogates who showed up for the Glynn County Democrats' Fish Fry last evening. They obviously weren't expecting 240 people and the catering service took some time catching up. But they did and everyone was satisfied. There wasn't room for the  Read on →