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Sunday, January 22, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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    southern politics

    It’s about to get a whole lot more interesting

    by | 2 | Oct 31, 2016
    2016 Presidential Election Map - Average margin of presidential victory 1992-2008

    The South is not completely red politically, just as it is not home to only rednecks.

    Come November 8, Southerners will cast about 33 million votes in this oddest and nastiest of presidential elections. Of those, more than 15 million will be for the Democrat, Hillary Clinton. That’s a lot of blue living in what most assume is just red.

    Yes, our region, just like our nation, is more purple than just red or blue. In Southern state and federal elections, we’re a reddish purple. In many urban areas in the South, we skew a little more blueish purple.

     

     

    jimmy carter - photographs

    The Creampuff

    by | 0 | Oct 31, 2016
    Carter and Mondale with members of the White House traveling press corps softball team, dubbed the News Twisters, at the Plains High School baseball field. Carter’s own team was made up mainly of off-duty US Secret Service agents. One observer likened the Secret Service versus press play to the “New York Yankees against a middle school softball team . . . if the middle schoolers had been drinking all night.” Left to right are Justin Friedland of ABC News, Charles Mohr of the New York Times, Carter, James Walker of ABC News, Mondale, Rick Kaplan of CBS News, Billy Carter, Curtis Wilkie of the Boston Globe, and Phil Smith of Newhouse News Service.

    As a photojournalist shooting a baseball game, I’d never once considered that I could be at great peril…but I’d never photographed a game from this position…from on the mound and behind the pitcher.

    I stood over the pitcher’s shoulder during his windup watching the batter – his forearms tensed and his gaze narrowly focused on the orb as it left the pitcher’s fingers.

    The ball floated nearer, the wood came around, gained speed and then contacted…

     

     

    stranger than fiction

    “You’re Nobody ’til Everybody In This Town Thinks You’re A Bastard”

    by | 0 | Oct 30, 2016
    Elvis Costello as Satan presents Donald Trump in This Town is a composite image created by LikeTheDew.com

    Mr. Getgood moved up to Self-Made Man Row
    Although he swears he’s the salt of the earth
    He’s so proud of the “kick-me-hard” sign that they hung on his back at birth.
    He said “I appreciate beauty, if I have one, then it’s my fault”
    “Beauty is on my pillow, beauty is there in my vault.”

    Now just who did Elvis Costello have in mind when he wrote and recorded “…This Town…” in 1988?

     

     

    chicken-wing democrat

    Write Me In

    by | 9 | Oct 24, 2016
    Write Me In by Trevor Irvin

    I am the first write-in presidential candidate who will win in a landslide. So heads up — Hillary is not the only historic choice here.

    My run for the highest office in the land has gone exceedingly well. I am the first candidate to run an issue-free, wall-free, policy-free, promise-you-anything-to-get-in-office, campaign. (I know, I know, the Donald is neck-and-neck with me on this, but I’m not worried that he’ll grab the presidency – other stuff, well, you may want to be careful, just sayin’.)

     

     

    just for attention

    Dousing Trump’s Insurrectionary Fire

    by | 0 | Oct 20, 2016
    onald Trump - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

    This ugly presidential campaign will soon be over, but ugliness threatens to continue beyond Election Day. Donald Trump, who threatened that if he wins he will seek to jail his opponent, has been inciting his followers with accusations that, if he loses, it’s because of a conspiracy.

    Win or lose, Mr. Trump threatens the foundations of American democracy. Polls indicate that Trump probably will lose…

     

     

    show me your papers

    74 Years an Evacuee

    by | 0 | Oct 17, 2016
    74 Years an Evacuee

    The first time I was evacuated was in early 1942, at the age of nine months. The allies bombing the German City of Aachen every night had become too traumatic, so my mother took her babe and fled to the Austrian Alps.

    So, I spent the next three years in this rustic farm building: two rooms and a veranda and outhouse on the second floor; wood storage, bake oven and chicken coop on the first; no electricity; no running water.

     

     

    trending

    The New South Carolina: The Politics

    by | 0 | Oct 17, 2016
    Southeast US political map turns red to purple to blue

    In sports, the Gamecocks wear garnet and black. Clemson wears orange and purple. In politics, South Carolina is red and deep red. These are what are known as “self-evident truths.” Things that just are. While the garnet and orange will probably last until the Second Coming, the red in South Carolina politics is changing – and changing faster than most folks think.

     

     

    book review

    Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 – 2005

    by | 0 | Oct 12, 2016
    Army kicking down a door - illustration by Tom Ferguson

    What first struck me about Thomas E Ricks’ book, Fiasco The American Military Adventure in Iraq 2003 to 2005, was the sheer number of establishment figures who opposed the war, many of whom predicted the general consequences to include Isis. Bush the elder, General Colin Powell (despite his eventual disgraceful performance at the U.N.), General Schwarzkoph, Brent Scowcroft, Marine General Anthony Zinne

     

     

    small world after all

    The Deplorable Geopolitics of the Second Presidential Debate

    by | 3 | Oct 11, 2016
    The Deplorable Geopolitics of the Second Presidential Debate

    Viewers can be forgiven if they missed the geopolitics of the second debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on October 9th. The emotional tension in their encounter was certainly unprecedented in American political history. Dramatics notwithstanding, how the nominees perceive or think voters perceive international politics may be discerned from a content analysis of their geographic references.

    Note that the geographic references in this debate were more narrowly focused than in the first debate on September 26th…

     

     

    it is up to us

    Enter Donald Trump

    by | 1 | Oct 10, 2016
    Donald Trump - Caricature

    Last year’s viral internet debate over “The Dress” meme revealed peculiar limits to our perceptions. We argued ourselves silly about the dress’s “real” color, but no one’s mind was changed. We saw what we saw, and we found it bewildering that anyone could see differently.

    Unfortunately, political discourse in the United States – if one dignifies it so – has come to resemble “The Dress” debate. Our ideological polarization, coupled with our tendency to validate our beliefs with our favored news sources, make it difficult for many of us to see how intelligent, moral, and sane people could possibly hold policy positions opposing our own.

     

     

    gop irresponsibility

    Responsibility is for Democrats…Just ask Johnny Isakson

    by | 3 | Oct 3, 2016
    Responsibility is for Democrats…Just ask Johnny Isakson

    Dangerous but unchallenged nonsense is what listeners heard from U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson in his September 30th interview  on Georgia Rewind with Bill Nigut. After performing the ritual of joviality between elected officials and journalists with Bill Nigut and Jim Galloway that is expected on the program, the third term Republican got down to the serious business of evading questions and promoting militarism. Asked about legislative gridlock in Congress, Isakson was allowed to reduce the problem to budgeting and then blame it on House Republicans and President Obama.

     

     

    can i hear an amen?

    Has America Lost Its Mind and Its Soul?

    by | 2 | Oct 2, 2016
    Has America Lost Its Mind and Its Soul?

    Shortly after the advent of Christianity, the Church Fathers adopted a set of seven “Cardinal Virtues”: humility, charity, temperance, diligence, kindness, patience, and fidelity. These universally desirable traits, which establish the gold-standard for character, were borrowed partly from Greek philosophy and partly from the teachings of the Old and New Testaments.

    Mirroring the Seven Cardinal Virtues are Seven Deadly Sins: pride, greed, gluttony, sloth, malicious envy, wrath, and lust…

     

     

    for the people

    An Election Isn’t an Invitation to Self-expression

    by | 0 | Oct 2, 2016
    Vote by Mykl Roventine

    Countless electrons are being agitated during this election cycle over what a voter who can’t stomach either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump should do. What’s being offered the conflicted and afflicted is pretty depressing.

    One tortured option invites voters to simultaneously salve their consciences and save their country by trading their votes. This strikes me as so bizarre that I’m not sure I even have it right. But the idea seems to be something like this…

     

     

    vote

    Voice of the Challenger: An Interview with Jeremy Salter

    by | 0 | Sep 29, 2016
    Voice of the Challenger: An Interview with Jeremy Salter

    Are political courage and smart ideas enough to unseat an entrenched incumbent? Jeremy Salter is counting on a thoughtful electorate ready for overdue criminal justice reform as the challenger in the contest for Floyd County District Attorney against incumbent Leigh Patterson. That Patterson is the most prominent of the four local public officials in the county who recently changed their affiliation from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party adds an element of drama to the race…

     

     

    debate world

    Geographically Challenged

    by | 1 | Sep 28, 2016
    The US Presidential debate world 2.0

    That Hillary Clinton trounced Donald Trump in the first debate between the party presidential nominees on September 26, 2016 is obvious. She was clear while he was confusing. She was self-possessed while he was easily baited. The differences were so obvious that they tended to obscure what their responses revealed about their respective geopolitics. A bare bones content analysis of the number of references to locations reveals much about their perspectives on global politics.

     

     

    earth and its peoples

    Standing with Standing Rock and Sacred Stone Camp

    by | 1 | Sep 21, 2016
    Standing Rock Indian Reservation

    “Resistance to high-risk extreme extraction is building a global, grassroots, and broad-based network the likes of which the environmental movement has never seen.” Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything (2014)

    Something extraordinary and unprecedented is happening within the environmental movement. The epicenter of this “Earth”-quake is Sacred Stone Camp on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. For some time, a small group of Standing Rock Lakota (“Sioux”) has gathered on the banks of the Cannon Ball River to protest the continued development of the “black serpent“…

     

     

    what kind of person?

    All Republican Patriots Must Choose Party or Principle

    by | 0 | Sep 21, 2016
    All Republican Patriots Must Choose Party or Principle

    “Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.” – Winston Churchill

    No one who feels allegiance to a political party wants to have to choose between party and principle. But sometimes history compels people to make that choice.

    That is how a large group of prominent people, who describe themselves as “members of the Republican national security community,” see their situation in this year’s presidential election.

     

     

    why not

    Email Fisticuffs

    by | 5 | Sep 19, 2016
    Email Fisticuffs

    This is where we agree, I think: we both oppose people who harm others, who want to dominate, deny liberty, lie to make themselves look good and others bad, deny people their rights under the constitution and the bill of rights and also our rights under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed I think by all member nations (this latter item provoked immediate condemnation).

     

     

    perception v. reality

    The Duty to Hate Hillary

    by | 0 | Sep 19, 2016
    The Duty to Hate Hillary

    A letter in the most recent AARP Magazine got me thinking. The previous issue of the magazine had a piece titled “Leading Ladies,” featuring several older actresses – Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda, and Alfre Woodard – who have done well despite Hollywood’s long-standing ageism.

    The letter-writer, describing himself as a Vietnam-era veteran, felt insulted by the inclusion of Jane Fonda, whom he remembers bitterly “as the traitor ‘Hanoi Jane.'”

     

     

    making a difference

    Colin Kaepernick is Sitting Down, But Will He Stand Up?

    by | 1 | Sep 11, 2016
    Colin Kaepernick Sits During National Anthem

    Colin Kaepernick’s protest of injustice in America by not standing for the national anthem is absolutely his right, and we are now seeing a few more players following suit in support of his cause. All this is well and good, and while there are many who do not believe this is an appropriate method of voicing his position, how a person chooses to protest and their wiliness to accept any backlash that comes is a matter of their own prerogative and conscience.

    Sadly, injustice, intolerance, bigotry and racism are a bane upon civilization that has been with us since man came out of the cave …

     

     

    truth – google it

    I Read It On the Internet

    by | 0 | Sep 10, 2016
    “Sometimes, I go on the internet and just tell lies” – George Washington

    When President Obama said, at the Democratic National Convention, that Hillary Clinton is better prepared to occupy the Oval Office than any previous aspirant, he had no idea how right he was. This woman has powers that mere mortals don’t. She’s way past bitch all the way to witch. I mean literally. I know because I read it on the Internet.

    Think about it. Forty people who were slated to testify to her criminal malfeasance in letting the American Consulate at Benghazi, Libya, get incinerated have all been murdered. And although my Facebook informant is kind of shaky on the details, he’s absolutely certain …

     

     

    vp candidate, green party

    An Interview with Ajamu Baraka

    by | 1 | Sep 8, 2016
    Vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka and presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein at the 2016 Green Party convention

    Disappointment and boredom have left many Americans with the suspicion that something essential to democracy is missing from the 2016 presidential contest as it is covered by corporate news media… and they are correct. The presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the two major parties are painfully uninspiring and their ideas promise nothing but different versions of ‘more of the same.’ Americans are hungrier than ever for leaders willing to confront entrenched power. Which is why I was delighted to interview Ajamu Baraka, the Vice Presidential for the Green Party

     

     

    except greed

    Reasons for Denying Climate Change

    by | 0 | Sep 8, 2016
    Reasons for Denying Climate Change

    Everybody has reasons not to want to believe what scientists are saying about climate change.

    For starters, who wants to believe that we humans are facing our greatest challenge ever? Life is hard enough, just meeting the challenges of taking care of our families.

    And most of us resist change. It’s so much easier to just keep on doing what we’re doing.

    And who wants to accept the troubling news that our children and grandchildren will be hurt unless we act responsibly in the face of the unwelcome truth.

     

     

    ms. misogyny

    Finally!

    by | 6 | Sep 7, 2016
    Fear and Loathing with Phyllis Schlafly by the author, Trevor Irvin

    Phyllis Schlafly has finally made millions of people very happy … she died. It was a simple, but gratifying act. Many hoped it would have happened much sooner, but as they say, better late than never. It occurs to me that there are a few others it would be nice to see follow suit. Are you listening Cheney?

    Schlafly, a working women who hated women who worked, was an expert on self-loathing. She so hated her kind that she didn’t want to stop at shredding equal rights and equal pay for women; she hoped one day to become a Jewish Nazi and send herself to a death camp where she could have all her rights and humanity exterminated.

     

     

    summer 1943

    Remembering Atlanta

    by | 2 | Sep 7, 2016
    Piedmont and Tenth Street in the 1940’s(Georgia State University Library)

    My “Old Maid Aunt” Naomi, prided herself on being “the only woman used car dealer in Atlanta.” Her car lot was on Lucky Street on the way to downtown Atlanta from where she lived on Piedmont Avenue. Seemed like thousands of cars passed her place daily – or hourly.

    It was the summer of 1943 and I was a 14-year old. World War II was in full swing. I was scheduled to go into 8th grade at Christ School in Arden, a private school that was to cost $600 including room and board. My Dad was operating a grocery store, meat market and café in Fletcher, NC. I would have done almost anything that summer not to have to deal with killing cows and pigs and helping prepare them for sale in my Dad’s grocery store. I had that experience once, and that was enough.

     

     

    what if

    Almost

    by | 2 | Sep 7, 2016
    President Jimmy Carter relaxed at his desk in the Oval Office in April 1978

    The country was at peace; internally and around the world. We had issues; Russia was being aggressive, Central America was volatile, Israel and Egypt, of course. But America didn’t have a standing army fighting for some trumped up reason against people defending a place most of us couldn’t locate on a globe. In fact, Egypt and Israel would sign an historic accord to establish peace between the two countries during this year.

    The Son of Sam had been convicted and John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy had been arrested. The first mobile phone was introduced and Carl Sagan won a Nobel Prize. While inflation was still persistent, things were looking up …

     

     

    forbidden fruit

    Unh, hunh

    by | 1 | Sep 5, 2016
    Unh, hunh

    Dylan mocked, “. . . with God on our side.”

    The Boy Scouts award a “God and Country” merit badge.

    Nick Searcy sloganed,  “God bless America – and no place else !”

    And those longing for the “good old days” tend to lean to the right side of the political spectrum embracing “Guns and God.”

    But who is this God?

    And does he belong to the Republican Party?

    I say there is proof in Genesis, that He does.

     

     

    just political applesauce

    Enjoying Fritz Hollings’ colorful language again

    by | 1 | Aug 30, 2016
    Sen. Hollings at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on product liability, Feb. 19, 1986. (CitizensForACompetitiveAmerica.com)

    More than a decade after South Carolina’s Fritz Hollings left the United States Senate, people still talk about how he would talk about things.

    Whenever Hollings took the floor of the Senate to make a speech, staffers would often stop their day-to-day business and watch on the Senate’s internal television network to listen to what he would say.

    “That’s like delivering lettuce by way of a rabbit,” Hollings could be heard when discussing something dysfunctional about government spending.

     

     

    underground airlines

    Moral Universes: An Interview with Ben H. Winters

    by | 0 | Aug 27, 2016
    Moral Universes: An Interview with Ben H. Winters

    American novelists have been disturbing comforting denials about the evils of racism since the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. Ben H. Winters’ carries on that proud tradition with his latest novel, Underground Airlines, a brilliant exploration of the relationship between political compromise and personal complicity. Winters graciously offered to answer my questions about his writing.

     

     

    illogical abuse of discourse

    Jingoism works. Incoherence works. Name-calling works.

    by | 0 | Aug 26, 2016
    Grampy’s Thinking cap is a gif created from the Betty Boop cartoon, “Betty Boop and Grampy,” produced by Max Fleischer in 1935

    With the general election less than two months away, I’m exhausted almost daily putting new batteries into my thinking cap so that I can be a responsible, critical listener to the appeals of all candidates.

    I was an English professor for 44 years before I retired in 2001, but I dare not place my brain on automatic pilot given the billions spent to persuade us. In 1958-59, my first year of teaching, without comment I gave to a class at Auburn University, then still under legally mandated segregation, a pamphlet circulated by the Ku Klux Klan …

     

     

    justice for all people

    Advocating Human Rights Is Not Anti-Semitic

    by | 0 | Aug 22, 2016
    Advocating Human Rights Is Not Anti-Semitic

    The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement (BDS) calls for the international community to put economic pressure on Israel to end its flagrant violations of human rights. It demands an end to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the dismantling of the apartheid wall; equal rights for Palestinians in Israel; and the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Thus, although BDS does not take a direct stance on the question of a one- or two-state solution, the policies it champions would lay the foundation for a just peace by moving the region closer to a bi-national, truly democratic society.

     

     

    backstage person

    Hillary Clinton Is a Victim of Her Virtues

    by | 13 | Aug 22, 2016
    Hillary Clinton by Mike Mozart

    When a Facebook friend slammed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton recently as a “godawful (sic) human being,” that triggered images of god-awful human beings like – you know–Adolf Eichmann, Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden. Turns out that the Facebooker wasn’t thinking of crimes against humanity but Clinton’s failure to be entirely forthcoming about her State Department e-mails. Since that didn’t seem to me to make the cut for “god-awful human being,” I thought again, as I often have, about why Clinton inspires such thoughtless vitriol. I think it’s because she’s a victim of her virtues.

     

     

    the monster – its alive

    Nation faces scary times with November election

    by | 0 | Aug 22, 2016
    Nation faces scary times with November election

    The seeds of a new revolution are in the ground. If they get enough water in the November election, there’s no telling what will happen. Pundits, who often only seem to talk to each other and read pointy-headed reports and memos written by peers, appear totally confounded about what’s going on in the electorate as tanking GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to foment disarray and discontent. Just when the talking heads think they’ve got Trump figured out, he does something new that bewitches them more – to the delight of his followers.

     

     

    home grown

    An Act of Terrorism

    by | 1 | Aug 19, 2016
    1996 olympic bombing atlanta cnn

    Twenty years ago this summer, America was rocked by a terrorist attack. A religious fanatic radicalized by fundamentalist ideas planted a bomb at a crowded location during a major sporting event. The device he built killed one person and injured 120 more. The death toll could easily have been in the hundreds.

    That same terrorist planted three more bombs that injured and killed over the next two years; bombs targeting places he arrogantly linked to the causes he felt were worth murdering innocents for…

     

     

    a cry from the heart

    How to Think about “Black Lives Matter”

    by | 0 | Aug 16, 2016
    Black Lives Matter by Joe Brusky via flickr

    We’d likely have less controversy over the slogan, “Black Live Matter,” if we had more of a shared understanding of the relevant American reality.

    Sometimes a single clue reveals something big about that reality. There’s the clue, for example, that we white people have heard about in recent times in the wake of headlined shootings of unarmed black men. It’s “the talk” that many black parents give to their children, especially their sons.

     

     

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