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Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Southern Weather Radar


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    echoes of wild raggedy sun-crazed children

    Where Was Mooney’s Lake?

    by | Jun 11, 2016
    Mooney's Lake in the 30s

    Wherever it was, it’s not there anymore. . . .Then again, maybe it is.  

    Rising up out of the water were three enormous white towers. I’m sure of that. Three. They looked like very tall rectangular scaffolds made of wood with ladders leading up to platforms near their tops from which people jumped off. One of them had a diving board, but the other two were more in demand among the more daring and were unlike anything anywhere else in the city and were the reason so many people like us came from so far to swim here.

     

     

    paying your dues

    Democratic Party Super Delegates Are a Feature, Not a Flaw

    by | Jun 11, 2016
    "Super Delegates" by Randall Enos

    Blame Facebook for this post. Got into an online conversation with a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter who had a jaundiced opinion of the Democratic Party’s “super delegates.” The few basics I offered about how our political parties work came as news to him, as he thought they would to most people. I thought they would to almost nobody. In case he’s right and I’m not, I’m filling out here what I told my fellow Facebooker.

     

     

    overcoming

    The remarkable story of forgiveness in Charleston

    by | Jun 11, 2016
    Dozens of bouquets lined a sidewalk last year outside Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

    Almost a year later, the remarkable words of family members in pain still ring in our ears.

    “I forgive you,” one said in a crowded courtroom. “May God have mercy on you,” another added. “Hate won’t win,” said a third.

    One after another, five people squeezed by turmoil forgave an accused killer, who stood pancake-faced in shackles in a separate room and watched his bond hearing on a television screen.

     

     

    celebrity bully

    I Was Wrong about Trump

    by | Jun 8, 2016
    The Celebrity Candidate Writers Room Whiteboard is by DonkeyHotey

    There’s been a change in how I see Donald Trump.

    A few months ago, I saw him as an accomplished actor, able to pick what role to play for the occasion– such as to become the dominant figure in the race for the Republican nomination. I believed he had understood how he could tap into the passions simmering in a large part of the Republican base and ride those passions to power.

     

     

    exposing hypocrisy & corruption

    Democracy Now, Amy Goodman

    by | Jun 8, 2016
    Democracy Now, Amy Goodman

    Amy Goodman hosts a groundbreaking radio news show out of New York City, which is also videocast. She covers news from a non-corporate perspective, extolling what she calls Independent Media. She titled her latest book, Democracy Now, because she says it is the only way she can get her show’s name in the New York Times. If it becomes a best seller (which it has) they sort of have to list it. Otherwise, cover non-corporate news and you’re excluded from the corporate media. You’re not quite respectable…

     

     

    a bit of nostalgia

    Falling Leaves

    by | Jun 6, 2016
    Empty wheelchair in nursing home hallway with hopeful child figure

    One usually arrives early and sits patiently. Others file in slowly, leaning on walkers. Some carry oxygen tanks. Many come in wheelchairs, a rolling procession that looks like a car race just as the caution flag comes out. Some amble in using canes and the newer style walking sticks, the kind you can stand on its own. One or two, perhaps, walk in unaided as they have done all their life. What is their secret?

    They live in homes that generally lean on nature for their names. Words like leaf, forest, oak, pine, woods, laurel, spring…

     

     

    southern views

    If You Think There’s Nothing New Under The Sun, You Haven’t Looked In The Right Place

    by | Jun 6, 2016
    Geordie Shore’s video on bum bleaching

    As if I needed any further proof that I spend too much time on the Internet, I ran across an alarming article that describes a new fad – anus bleaching – which is popular among some rich, vain, mostly Hollywood women. And, no doubt, probably more than a few men.

    (I won’t say what I was looking for when I found this outlandish website. That information is on a need-to-know basis.)

     

     

    our collective mood is foul

    America’s Ghost Dance with Trump

    by | Jun 3, 2016
    America's Ghost Dance with Trump

    “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”Matthew 7:15

    In watching aghast the incomprehensible ascendancy of Donald Trump, I am struck with a sense of déjà vu. Where else have I heard of a people, drowning in despair, who clutch for a life raft of false promises? And then it comes back to me.

     

     

    Hope y’all gits bit by a rabid ’coon

    A bit of a gripe from Down Under

    by | May 27, 2016
    Johnny Depp in immaculately styled rugged hat

    Johnny Depp has been generating a lot of free publicity back home in the US. Free for him that is – Australia is paying for it. You might remember that in April of this year Mr Depp and his wife, Amber Heard – or is it “then wife”, I don’t really follow what passes for the lives of film and TV stars – brought their two pampered mongs, Pistol and Boo, on a little jaunt to Australia where their daddy was filming yet another blockbuster aimed at children and adults under 15. Problem was…

     

     

    persuade your supporters

    A Win-Win Way for Bernie to Lead Now

    by | May 26, 2016
    Bernie Sanders - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

    Show us how you’ll campaign, as the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party to take power away from the obstructionist Republicans in Congress, which must be overcome for anything to be accomplished now matter whether it’s you or Hillary who wins the White House.

    And let’s hear the speech you’d make to your followers to motivate them to do all they can to make sure that Donald Trump doesn’t become president. You’ve said yourself how vitally important that is. Let’s hear how well you can persuade your supporters to see what you see about the urgency of stopping Trump…

     

     

    teaches us all

    An Appreciation of James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son

    by | May 25, 2016
    Image: James Baldwin in 1958. (Photo: Mottke Weissman)

    When I was a boy growing up in the 1950s our neighborhood swimming pool was segregated.  When the first black girl was elected queen of my high school a few years after I graduated in 1962 there was a near riot.  I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, not Columbus, Georgia.

    With the Civil Rights Movement beginning to sizzle in America in the early 1960, I learned about James Baldwin for the first time.  Novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist, Baldwin helped focus my eyes on the racial and social issues that bedeviled and continue to bedevil this country…

     

     

    on civil disobedience

    Comfort Zone or Sacrifice Zone?

    by | May 25, 2016
    Construction to begin never by Public Herald

    I’m old enough to remember a time when metro Atlanta had gotten big enough to be a serious obstacle in the way of getting myself and my young sons from where we lived in Alabama to the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia or North Carolina. Also big enough to have what had to be if not the biggest the very best independent bookstore on the planet, Oxford Books in Buckhead (d. 1997). But small enough to be usable. You could get in and out in one day and have a not too stressful metropolitan good time without a police escort…

     

     

    our neighborhood

    Rev. Clementa Pinckney and ‘understanding each other’s history’

    by | May 20, 2016
    Rev. Clementa Pinckney Mural by artist Tripp Barnes

    Last week in Charleston a large mural of Rev. Clementa Pinckney was unveiled. It was done by 28-year-old Columbia artist Tripp Barnes. It is big and colorful and covers the whole outside wall of a building on St. Phillips Street, a few blocks from my house and from Emanuel AME Church.

    In addition to his likeness, the mural also has a short but powerful quote by Clem: “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history – we haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”

     

     

    electronic blues

    Learning Curve

    by | May 20, 2016
    Eileen iPhone Hello World

    Until a month ago I was a mobile phone virgin. I’d fooled around a little but my inexperience showed. In constant fear of making mistakes, I was timid, not in control. When we lived in the same town my son had given me a primitive mobile phone in an effort to keep in touch. Every few months when he or his wife needed to get hold of me to invite me for lunch or pick up a grandchild, the phone was invariably flat, turned off, in another handbag or glove compartment; frustrating for them.

     

     

    keeping our kids safe

    Passing stopped school buses more of a problem than you think

    by | May 20, 2016
    Chlidren getting on a stopped school bus

    Vehicles passing stopped school buses is much more of a problem than most of us realize. At least where I live, Gwinnett’s school system is taking steps to address this situation, at no cost to your school tax bill. But only about 10 school systems in Georgia are participating in a new technology which improves school bus safety.

    Gwinnett is partnering with Redflex Traffic Systems of Phoenix, Ariz. in having traffic cameras on its buses.

     

     

    hyperventilating over bathrooms

    Into the North Carolina Transgender Weeds

    by | May 17, 2016
    Into the North Carolina Transgender Weeds

    North Carolina’s HB 2, aka the “bathroom law,” has provoked outrage and ridicule in equal measure. The feeble defense the law’s supporters are putting up invites speculation about their real agenda. Unless safety concerns track religious belief for some hitherto unnoticed reason, it’s worth wondering why faith-based organizations in particular have been so vocal in raising alarms about the depredations this law is supposed to spare everybody.

     

     

    Red and yellow, black and white

    My Diane

    by | May 13, 2016
    Cabbagetown District, Boulevard, Pearl Street, Memorial Drive Atlanta Fulton County

    The summer I was fifteen, my goal in life was to get a good tan. In those days, you were nobody if your skin wasn’t bronzed beyond belief. That was before we knew how much the sun harmed our skin. Everyday at the public pool or in my own backyard, I’d slather up with a mixture of baby oil and iodine – trying to encourage the maximum exposure. No wonder my skin looks like sandpaper now and probably explains why, last Mother’s Day, my daughter looked at my arm in a sleeveless dress and said, “You look like a lizard.” What more could a mother want?

     

     

    something of a dilettante

    Learning from those who do not like us

    by | May 13, 2016
    Learning from those who do not like us

    Forty-five years ago today (1971), I was graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with a Ph.D. in English (Dissertation: Dickens’ Use of Language for Protest). I am grateful for the counsel which Professor James McMillan, then chair of the department, gave me in the hall after I had defended my dissertation: “Up until this point you have been rewarded mainly by writing what experts know. Hereafter, to be taken seriously, you must write what you know which experts have not yet discovered…

     

     

    brought it on ourselves

    Questions arise now that presidential contest is almost settled

    by | May 13, 2016
    Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump - Caricatures by DonkeyHotey

    You must admit that social media has been a mighty contributor to this 2016 political season.

    In another way of saying this: look what we have done to ourselves.

    We couldn’t get enough of Trump, or Bernie, and every so often, some of the other presidential candidates. So we turned inward, creating more bizarre buzzing for the political year.

     

     

    wrong-headed idealism

    Nocturnal musings

    by | May 11, 2016
    Schoolhouse Rock’s “The Great American Melting Pot”

    Sometimes, in the still of the night, I think I hear the American culture coming apart at the seams. Sometimes it’s the popping of a stitch. Other times it’s an alarming rip. But the culture is definitely showing signs of strain.  I don’t think this is normal wear and tear. I think the culprit is zeal connected to bad ideology, zeal fueled by ignorance often masquerading as enlightenment.

    A moment’s thought, for instance, reveals that Political Correctness undermines the most precious provision of the Bill of Rights: free speech.

     

     

    money is the enemy of peace

    Nukes Gone Away (we wish)

    by | May 11, 2016
    Trident sub: "Isis has nothing on us, Skipper. We hold the whold world hostage."

    The Beyond War movement in the 80s used to cite several “illusions” that perpetuate our drift toward what Einstein called, unparalleled catastrophe – a nuclear war. The illusion I have in mind is the belief that we can continue to war and survive. If we in fact do continue to war we will, sooner or later, have a nuclear war. The nuclear winter, radiation poisoning, and physical damage that would follow such an event would make the survivors envy those tens of millions killed in the immediate explosions…

     

     

    bigotry still king

    Evading the hypocrisy

    by | May 10, 2016
    Southern hypocrisy meter

    I’m planning a road trip to see America with two of my sons. We are mapping out an itinerary circling the country and finding well-known, quirky, and interesting destinations. The hardest thing so far has been planning the trip without passing through states that have jumped on the deny people’s rights to get elected bandwagon.

    I know Tennessee recently passed legislation making the Bible the state book, but the governor vetoed it. Georgia is waffling on their version of discrimination in the name of religious liberty and safe restrooms after several major businesses in the Peach State protested.

     

     

    beast in the darkness

    We’re All in the Sacrifice Zone Now

    by | May 4, 2016
    A digger in one of the Rhineland open-pit coal mines

    Sacrifice zone: a geographic zone that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. These zones are commonly found in low-income and minority communities. (Wikipedia)

    I grew up in the shadow of Appalachia. My hometown, Bluefield, wasn’t Appalachia, but you could see it from there. Just twelve miles from home the coalfields began: Pocahontas, VA; then Anawalt, Gary, and Coalwood, WV, in rapid succession, the latter made famous by native son Homer Hickam in his trilogy Rocket Boys, The Coalwood Way, and Sky of Stone.

     

     

    doing ignoble things

    The GOP and the Constitution: The Grotesque Mismatch Between Walk and Talk

    by | May 1, 2016
    We The Republicans - Constitution

    Which party do you think of when you hear the phrase, “defender of the Constitution”? I would wager that members of both parties would immediately think of the Republican Party, because they are the ones who most loudly proclaim their deep allegiance to our founding document.

    Yet in recent years, the leaders of the GOP have engaged in an assault on our constitutional system in ways unprecedented in American history…

     

     

    communion of saints

    Alabama Bone of My Bones and Flesh of My Flesh

    by | May 1, 2016
    Louie, Erman & Louie

    April 28th, 2016 was the 111th anniversary of Dad’s birth, in Goodwater, Alabama. I’ve spent much time thinking about him — how close we were; how far apart; how we struggled; how we admired each other; how I picked up some of his worst traits and some of his best; how much more I looked like him last summer when I was 78 (on far left below) than I did when I stood at his left in 1981, when he was 76 and I was 44. I was born in Anniston, Alabama in 1936. I was an only child and close to both parents, but genuinely a mama’s boy…

     

     

    part three of lilian's wish

    Trying To Make Sense of It All

    by | May 1, 2016
    Trying To Make Sense of It All

    Emmett never let go of his dislike of dogs. He showed it with muffled and incomprehensible grumbles about Bobbie. He never forgave her for growling at him when they first met. He said he would rather have a snake in the house than a dog. And no damn dog had better ever climb up on his sofa if they managed to get inside his house. Bobbie was a big ungainly soul who had been Lilian’s companion. She was used to having full reign of my house. Emmett never had a clue that she was much cleaner than he was…

     

     

    love and friendship

    Lest We Forget

    by | May 1, 2016
    Australian War Memorial Public Domain

    A little voice broke the silence and asked: Papa, why are you so sad? I replied that I was not sad but happy. The voice said: Well, why do you have tears in your eyes? They are happy tears, I said, Happy that I am here and with you today. It was April 25, the one day each year we remember and honor those brave men and women, relatives, friends and all of the others who gave their lives so we could be free to live and enjoy an open democratic country. We also remember those whose lives were irrevocably and permanently changed by the many wars…

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment