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Thursday, June 29, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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    political partiality

    U.S. Supreme Court Appeases Donald Trump and His Islamophobic Base

    by | 1 | 20 hours ago
    U.S. Supreme Court Appeases Donald Trump and His Islamophobic Base

    Splitting the difference is sometimes the closest approximation to justice achievable when judges rule in contract and family disputes. When the liberty protections in the U.S. Constitution are involved, however, splitting the difference is an evasion of judicial responsibility. Consider the Supreme Court’s June 26th decision on the Muslim Ban in Donald J. Trump v. International Refugee Assistance and Donald J. Trump v. Hawaii.

     

     

    name 12 people

    Leroy of Barnwell and other Southern gothic characters

    by | 0 | Jun 28, 2017
    Leroy of Barnwell and other Southern gothic characters

    Hand over my heart, this is a true story.

    The South is known for its unusual characters, right? They populate the stories of Southern writers like Erskine Caldwell, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, etc. and et al.

    But we Southerners know, don’t we, that you don’t have to crack one of these authors’ famous books to find such a fictional character’s prototype?

     

     

    threat by the sinister trio

    Aftershock, Robert Reich, a review

    by | 0 | Jun 22, 2017
    Concentrated Wealth - Ah you should be safe in here - cartoon of someone hiding money

    In his book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, Robert Reich reviews features in our society that undermine democracy – particularly concentrated wealth. And the off-shoot, lobbyists in effect bribing representatives and senators, vulnerable because they must raise money for their ever more expensive campaigns. The successful ones, when they leave office, with very nice self-voted retirement benefits, often go to work for the lobbying firms or corporations …

     

     

    don't be complacent

    Make Democrats Win Again

    by | 5 | Jun 21, 2017
    Make Democrats Win Again

    Spare me these embarrassing, condescending excuses for why a Democrat cannot win a closely contested special election. It’s been only a matter of hours since most major news outlets called the election for Karen Handel, but already I’ve grown tired of hearing “but it was close, which is a win in itself,” “Tom Price won by over 20 points in the last election, so the fact that it was even close surely says something,” or other meaningless variants of this infuriating phrase.

     

     

    tit for tat

    Daddy and the Sweet Old Lady’s Apoplectic Fit

    by | 0 | Jun 16, 2017
    Bill Strickland and young JL

    I was never exactly sure whether my father, Bill Strickland, was an amateur adult or a professional adolescent. Here is just one of the many incidents that led to my confusion.

    The Pledgers, Bryant and Erma, a middle age childless couple, were our next door neighbors in Fairfax , an east Alabama mill village, when I was growing up. Mr. Bryant operated the Sinclair Service Station at the cotton-mill village crossroads, which also served as the bus station. Miss Erma ran the cash register and kept the books.

     

     

    mckenzie beach

    The tides giveth and the tides taketh away

    by | 0 | Jun 16, 2017
    McKenzie Beach

    If you’ve driven South Carolina’s Ocean Highway (Hwy. 17), perhaps in hurrying from Georgetown to Myrtle Beach, you’ve probably noticed the ruins of old buildings on the east side of the road catercorner to the Fresh Market in Pawleys Island.

    The mouldering, vine-tangled ruins look like the setting for a Tennessee Williams play or a novel by William Faulkner. The whole property, in fact, has the look of a long-ago Southern yesteryear, or as black poet Langston Hughes might have put it: the look of a dream deferred.

     

     

    fight for justice and fairness

    Pure Suthun

    by | 1 | Jun 14, 2017
    Jeff Sessions - Keeper of the Flame by Donkey Hotey

    I have trouble listening to the news, especially when great nonsense is spoken in near perfect Suthun English.

    I taught in a secondary modern school in the London in 1965-66 after which I returned to work on my doctorate at the University of Alabama and teach undergraduates. An honors student from one of those classes is coming to visit this afternoon, the first time we have seen each other in 50 years!

     

     

     

    thanks, dad

    Hey Nineteen

    by | 1 | Jun 12, 2017
    Little League Baseball by Andrew Ahearne

    I was nine years old in the spring of 1967 when my father asked me if I wanted to tryout for Little League. I had no idea what Little League was but when he explained it was baseball, I quickly agreed. He had taken me to my first ballgame when I was six so any combination of my dad and baseball meant an instant yes. Back home a few hours later, he told me someone called to say I’d been picked to play for the Beachwood-Pine Beach (NJ) Little League Cardinals.

     

     

     

    sucker for bugle calls

    Everybody Has a Story

    by | 4 | Jun 5, 2017
    Everyone Has A Story

    Have you noticed that if you listen to people, everybody has a story? Even people who don’t realize they have one.

    I’m sure you have.

    Recently, an older acquaintance and I were talking about my early teenage years when I was often called upon to put on my Boy Scout uniform and play the bugle call “Taps” for area military funerals. Somehow, the conversation drifted to the death of his favorite uncle…

     

     

    the lessons I learned

    A Tribute to Grady Lee Randolph

    by | 0 | Jun 4, 2017
    A Tribute to Grady Lee Randolph

    While reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom years ago, I immediately thought of Mr. Randolph. He was my Morrie Schwartz—the most memorable teacher I ever had.

    Grady Randolph frequently spoke about his rural, humble beginnings in Possum Trot, Alabama. Because of his intense love of learning, he read every book in the local library and started a journal in his early teens that he continued his entire life. This spirit led him to the University of Chicago, where he earned a law degree. He married, joined the Atlanta Bar in 1954, and practiced law in Atlanta with his wife. But he also taught history at Henry Grady High School.

     

     

    seeking answers

    Joey Can’t Tell Us

    by | 0 | Jun 1, 2017
    Joey Can’t Tell Us

    Hardly anybody talks about Joey Miller anymore. His car was found three days after he had gone missing–in a vacant lot on some rural property he had planned to develop. The trunk was locked and his body was inside it. Somebody had shot him twice – in his upper back and in the back of his head.

    The crime lab at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), sixty miles away in Tallahassee, even helped with some forensics…

     

     

    garden bug

    The World’s Most Expensive Vegetables

    by | 2 | May 31, 2017
    Raised bed for lettuce and beans

    I have a perennial burning urge to grow beans and lettuces, tomatoes and zucchini. I missed the season last year, moving house and garden, but I’m back on track. Although I garden on a modest scale, inadvertently I’ve embarked on a bid to grow the world’s most expensive vegetables.

    A preference for growing vegetables over flowers is proof of my prosaic side, but also illustrates a romantic approach to harvesting and cooking produce straight from the soil…

     

     

    enjoy freedom

    Americans distinctively thrive under our Bill of Rights

    by | 0 | May 31, 2017
    Americans distinctively thrive under our Bill of Rights

    Most Americans probably don’t realize how unique are their individual rights, compared to people living under other governments.

    Our Founding Fathers, in all their inspired wisdom, gave early Americans more rights than previously had any government anywhere in the world.  Those same rights, often multiplied in some ways, remain a cornerstone of living in the United States and go a long way in defining what it is to be an American.

    They are easily identified in our Bill of Rights.

     

     

    life was simple

    The Other Side of the Tracks

    by | 2 | May 31, 2017
    The Railroad Worker’s Cottage

    Our house was only 10 yards from the railroad tracks and 50 yards from the end of the train station. It was a small rented cottage, one of five allocated to families of track workers. We had waited several years before the two bedroom cottage became available. The bedrooms were small and I was allocated a bed on the enclosed porch. There were no windows, only a wire screen to keep out the insects and a large canvas roller blind to keep out the light. It was cold and noisy.

     

     

    ticklebox repair

    Responding to a Medical Crisis of These Times

    by | 2 | May 26, 2017
    Responding to a Medical Crisis of These Times

    God made the funny bone, but it atrophies with disuse. Those of us who closely follow the evening news are highly susceptible to morphing into a sourpuss.

    An excellent remedy over the long haul is to give no more than 15 minutes a day to the headlines and redeem the rest of the day by reading good poetry aloud, fly-fishing alone in a huge state or federal park, changing diapers (of the very old or of the newborn), looking in a mirror while sticking out your tongue…  Use your imagination. That’s why we have one.

     

     

    a fairy tale

    Do you believe in fairies?

    by | 7 | May 23, 2017
    Fairy fort

    Nothing prepared me for the shock discovery after months in a writers’ group where I now live in Ireland, that several of our members firmly believe in fairies. Nobody dismissed them as figments of the imagination. I had to look into this.

    Joining this group had opened a new window for me into a writer’s world. We meet weekly on Sunday afternoons in a village coffee and book shop serving excellent latte…

     

     

    debunking conspiracism

    Cue Giorgio Tsoukalos

    by | 0 | May 22, 2017
    novelist and entertainer K.J. McElrath, lawyer and activist Glenn Greenwald is by David dos Dantos and television personality Giorgio A. Tsoukalos

    K.J. McElrath and Glen Greenwald appear disoriented. This is not the post 2016 election political struggle that they had anticipated. Or know how to fight. They were prepared to wage a virtuous virtual campaign against a President Hillary Clinton by continuing to expose the secrets of the military intelligence complex that spies on Americans and conducts a forever war to police the Middle East. Instead, the exposures of massive troves of mostly prosaic secrets via Wikileaks that they celebrated and propagated helped to shove history down a different path, leaving them stumbling and flailing.

     

     

    times change

    Sacks of Mail

    by | 0 | May 22, 2017
    Varney Airlines: Now Known as United Airlines

    Recent incidents involving forced removal of passengers from commercial flights have highlighted how far we have moved from the golden age of airline travel. I started flying in the 1950s and have experienced the significant changes in the airline business, not all for the benefit of travelers.

    Flying home recently, on board a new Boeing 717 aircraft, I read an article (The History of Airline Classes and Cabins: The Travel Insider) about some of the changes in the airline industry over the years…

     

     

    scandal drama

    Optimally Slow and Painful: Let’s Hope Donald Trump Refuses a Dignified Exit

    by | 3 | May 19, 2017
    Donald Trump finger pointing caricature by DonkeyHotey

    Despite the “never, ever, ever give up” language in Donald Trump’s recent disaster of a commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy it takes little imagination to picture him suddenly resigning from office. Although a majority of Americans would like to see him depart for his golf courses permanently as quickly as possible, an excruciating slow motion departure from office would be more beneficial. Beyond the raw entertainment value of watching a ridiculous narcissist get his comeuppance…

     

     

    classified funny

    Honesty is the best policy and other grand misconceptions

    by | 5 | May 18, 2017
    Honesty is the best policy and other grand misconceptions

    Well, tie me to an ant hill and slap jelly in ma ears … Vladimir Putin, former KGB chief, thug and Dictator in Chief of Russia has offered to vouch for Donald’s Trumps innocence and honesty during a high stakes classified information swap-meet in the oval office. Vlad says he can prove that Donald is telling the truth.

    Well! Jeesh, that is a relief! Show of hands, who, republican or democrat, with even a smidge of common sense feels more secure and that Donald is trustworthy? …

     

     

    save cumberland

    Georgians must resolve to protect Cumberland Island as a rare natural treasure

    by | 0 | May 16, 2017
    Georgians must resolve to protect Cumberland Island as a rare natural treasure

    In December of last year the Camden County Planning Commission considered an application for a “hardship variance” to allow a group of Cumberland Island property-owners and family members to use 87 acres on the island to create a 10-lot subdivision. That area, zoned “conservation- preservation,” is less than a quarter-mile from the Sea Camp ferry dock, where nearly all visitors arrive from the mainland. Even though the applicants failed to meet all five variance requirements, their request was granted by the county planning commission.

     

     

    the slow lane

    Wreckage Along The Back Roads

    by | 4 | May 16, 2017
    To I-77 old store falling down

    Beautiful wreckage along the back roads. It’s a chest of tarnished treasure. The key is that red, white, and blue shield you see in the photograph. Rather than speed from one destination to another, I follow old roads into the past. And it’s there that I ramble, detouring and losing track of time. It’s there that mysteries occur, something that never happens on a rough-surfaced interstate where road noise drowns out your thoughts.

     

     

    smiling back at you

    The One Who Got Away

    by | 6 | May 14, 2017
    Young David Evans in front of his home with his beagle

    I built my first coffin as an eight-year-old, a time when dogs still trotted freely in the street. Sawdust and Timber, my two young beagles, had full reign of our neighborhood. One day Sawdust ran under a speeding Buick Roadmaster. Timber trailed a few steps behind and only heard the thump. My first encounter with death came the next morning when the vet called to tell my father that Sawdust had died.

     

     

    misogynist in chief

    Happy Mother’s Day, I Guess

    by | 2 | May 14, 2017
    Trump PEEOTUS (unknown, Public Domain)

    It’s the second Sunday of May and we all know what that means: Mother’s Day. The one day a year when mother’s come close to receiving the respect, adoration, and thanks that they so deserve. This Mother’s Day, however, is special; Donald Trump is the President and “nobody that has more respect for women than [he does].” So let’s take some time to remember all the different ways that he’s honored not just mother’s, but all women, over the course of his life.

     

     

    southern life

    The Long Approach

    by | 4 | May 10, 2017
    Douglas DC-7C G-AOIC

    On lots of those days during school I would daydream about rambling the world; seeing and doing all the things I had learned about in books and movies. Trans-World Airways and Pan American went everywhere. Maybe I could afford to travel like that someday. I would need to learn some languages, of course. And I needed a plan. The routes Marco Polo took … I could start there. It was always in the back of my mind, to be dealt with when the time came. Maybe I could even get a job with an airline. Their employees get free passes to everywhere.

     

     

    southern life

    A Fondness For Old Gas Pumps

    by | 0 | May 7, 2017
    A Fondness For Old Gas Pumps

    Something about old gas pumps pleases me. I think of them as elder statesmen, as senior citizens left behind by the rush of time itself. When I see a proud old pump, its dispensing days behind it, I feel a surge of pride tinged by sadness. Veterans of another era, they have been put out to pasture.

    I have a long history with gas pumps, and I’m sure you do too. Ever wondered how many hours you’ve spent by a gas pump…

     

     

    still debating science

    Rick Santorium in The Age of Trump

    by | 0 | May 7, 2017
    former Senator Rick Santorum speaking at CPAC FL in Orlando, Florida was taken by Gage Skidmore

    On Monday, April 24th, Rick Santorum, the former Representative, Senator, and Presidential candidate, made an appearance at Unity Christian School in Rome, Georgia. He was there as a paid speaker for Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) to speak about what he described as traditional American values. Much of the content emphasized Judeo-Christian values and the place they should have in our society, a narrative constructed in large part from Santorum’s own Catholicism.

     

     

    counterfactuals are free

    A Book Review of Tariq Ali’s The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism War Empire Love Revolution

    by | 0 | May 4, 2017
    A Book Review of Tariq Ali’s The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism War Empire Love Revolution

    Did the world need another biography of V.I. Lenin? That we have no need of new biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler or Winston Churchill is obvious. Yet they will be published. In contrast the world might be rather richer for new biographies of Ranavalona I, Jósef Pilsudski, Pancho Villa and Trygve Lie. But another Lenin biography?

    Lenin’s seeming unparalleled role in making history is Tariq Ali’s excuse…

     

     

    southern places

    A Train Rolls Through It

    by | 4 | May 3, 2017
    A Train Rolls Through It

    The first time I heard of Branchville, South Carolina, I was a ticket agent at the bus station in Athens, Georgia. A passenger bought a one-way ticket to this hamlet and I ran the white-yellow-pink carbon-paper ticket through a machine like those that once processed credit card transactions. When the call to board the bus came, the passenger got on. Never saw him again. That was forty-four years ago.

     

     

    eu could learn a lot

    It’s All Monkey Business

    by | 0 | Apr 25, 2017
    Barbary Macaques: Gibraltar

    There has been some strong language from some European Union representatives about Great Britain’s planned exit from the EU. Great Britain’s politicians have responded with strong words as both sides position themselves for the “Brexit” negotiations. Some of the 751 European Parliament members will be happy when Great Britain departs the scene because “they were never one of us!” Others will be concerned about Brexit because the EU will become more of a “GEU” with the weaker economies…

     

     

    paying attention

    Lafitte’s and Ali

    by | 1 | Apr 20, 2017
    Cafe Lafitte in Exile on Bourbon Street in New Orleans

    “A man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali

    Sitting in Cafe Lafitte’s in Exile on a recent March morning, enjoying the best Bloody Mary in that foodie town, I wasn’t thinking about Ali. I was talking to Harvey, the guy on the next stool. But the words of The Greatest were appropriate.

    Two years prior, Suzy and I had stumbled into Lafitte’s asking for directions to a voodoo shop…

     

     

    5 decades of public service

    New statue of Hollings captures his spirit, leadership, energy

    by | 1 | Apr 18, 2017
    Statue of Senator Fritz Hollings by sculptor Rick Weaver unveiled in Charleston, SC. Photo by Andy Brack

    Sculptor Rick Weaver captured the body language of Fritz Hollings just right in a new statue unveiled Monday as former colleagues heaped praises on the retired senator, now 95.

    Three things stand out in the bronze figure – the warm, but determined, look on Hollings’ face; how his left hand is grasping a rolled-up document; and, most notably, an outstretched right hand, a familiar gesture to many of the senator’s former staffers and friends.

     

     

    earth day message:

    Clean, Efficient Energy Is Most Promising Path To New Jobs & Profits

    by | 0 | Apr 17, 2017
    Earth Day over coastal Georgia is a composite image created by LikeTheDew.com

    On this Earth Day, it’s fitting for coastal Georgians to reconsider the importance of strong ties between our economy and environmental health. Too often, outmoded, poorly-informed viewpoints unfairly portray environmental quality as being contrary to jobs and a robust economy.

    Yet, coastal Georgia’s economic vitality thrives on the protection of marshes, fisheries, and waterways. According to estimates of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, at least 40,000 jobs and $2 billion a year in commerce depends …

     

     

    release your tax returns

    Protesting the President: Money (That’s What I Want)

    by | 1 | Apr 17, 2017
    Tax Protest March April 15, 2017 by Mike Licht

    Once again, President Tweety has claimed that Americans who march in protest of his policies or of him personally are doing so for pay. His latest accusation came in a tweet on Easter Sunday, one day after citizens in cities as far flung as New York and Birmingham hit the streets to demand that he release his tax returns.

    I am going to take him at his word that events like these are orchestrated and funded as part of a vast left-wing conspiracy. And I would like to ask a simple question: Where do I sign up?

     

     

    locust and wild honey

    Shedding stereotypes, even those we Southern liberals use

    by | 0 | Apr 13, 2017
    Shedding stereotypes, even those we Southern liberals use

    I wish that I could find a way never to think in stereotypes, but I find that stereotypes often seem so matter-of-fact that I don’t even notice them as stereotypes.  I have not found a way to abandon them en masse, but only one  at a time.  The process is usually more painful than it was this time. Ten years ago, on April 10, 2007, I flew to Memphis, rented a car and drove to Tupelo, Mississippi, base of Donald Wildmon‘s hostile American Family Association …

     

     

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