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Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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    greetings from ireland

    What a difference a year makes

    by | 7 | Jan 6, 2017
    What a difference a year makes

    A year ago, spending Christmas with my son’s family in Ireland, I finally decided to make the move. I’d been living eleven years in Harrisonburg, Virginia, near my youngest son. I was happy in America, comfortable, well established with good friends and plenty of activities. But my son had moved to Kansas in 2014 and I was long flights away from him and his brothers in UK, Ireland, Kansas, Arizona and Australia, all urging me to move …

     

     

    no right to give up

    Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross

    by | 0 | Jan 4, 2017
    Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross

    One of the challenges Bertram Gross’ book, Friendly Fascism, presents the reader with is this: if your views coincide with those that a major, long-term, well-funded propaganda campaign has aimed to instill, wouldn’t it be prudent to reconsider those views? We don’t come into this world armed with disinformation detectors. We tend to trust those around us and more or less uncritically adopt their values. Born into a Muslim world, chances are you’ll be Muslim. Born into a Catholic family in Italy? …

     

     

    shoring up our godly cred

    “So Help Me God”: Not Unpresidented, but Unpresidential

    by | 1 | Jan 3, 2017
    Richard Nixon Taking The Oath Of Office - official White House

    At noon on January 20, Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office as President of the United States: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” And then he will add the phrase “so help me God.”

    Those four little words are not in the Constitution, but …

     

     

    waiting

    Heart Attack

    by | 0 | Jan 1, 2017
    Heart Attack

    We were in the vehicle on the interstate traveling to see my dad for his birthday and to have a family dinner when my sister called to say she thought he was having a heart attack and was taking him to the hospital. Other than a handful of colds through his seventy plus years and one case of food poisoning, my dad had been the ultimate mind-over-matter-vitamin and herb-man. I often wondered if he really had the mind-over-matter power, if he could will his heart to heal.

     

     

    political negligence

    Climate Action a Moral Imperative

    by | 0 | Dec 30, 2016
    Climate Action a Moral Imperative

    According to a 2016 poll by Yale and George Mason University, 3 out of 4 registered voters think the climate is overheating and more than half believe it’s caused by human activities.

    Meanwhile, politicians who are paid millions in campaign contributions by the fossil fuel industry block much-needed action to curtail the worst impacts of continuing emission of greenhouse gases. Due to such corrupt denial of facts, millions of Americans …

     

     

    bang

    Hunting For Your Heart

    by | 1 | Dec 24, 2016
    Polite Squirrel by Syd Phillips

    He had always wanted to go hunting with his big brother, and this was going to be his first trip. It was also going to be his last.

    He got up early. Real early. They wanted to be in position by dawn. Sunrise was at 7:30. That meant they had to leave the house by 6:30, allowing for a half hour drive and a 20-minute walk into position. He was up at 5 o’clock. At least that’s what he told his brother…

     

     

    elections past

    A Peril of a Carol: Trump Sees Ghosts

    by | 0 | Dec 22, 2016
    A Peril of a Carol: Trump Sees Ghosts

    Hillary was dead, not dead dead, but dead as a hammer in the world of politics. The Electoral College was dedicated to its duty, and voted according to expectations, with its members then checking themselves into rehab.

    It was in this world that The Donald lived. High potentate, head banana, big-wig and man in charge, living large in The Tower while waiting for the residents of the public housing to move out so he could move in, if he decided he wanted to downgrade…

     

     

    catastrophe unfolding

    Is America a Failed State?

    by | 5 | Dec 21, 2016
    American flag upside down

    Immediately following the 2016 presidential election, I emailed four German friends: “After 240 years, the great American experiment has ended, badly.”

    It’s a grim assessment. I arrived at this discomforting conclusion while raking leaves and talking to a neighbor who served in the Peace Corps in a former Soviet republic. She’s seen failed states firsthand, and America, to her, has that “feel.” And she’s worried her children will grow up in an oligarchy.

     

     

    time-honored laughter

    Jingle Hell

    by | 23 | Dec 18, 2016
    decorating our tree by Trevor Irvin

    It starts by driving 500 miles to seven different tree farms, farmers markets and retail establishments to argue with seven fingered cretins about how “there is no way in hell I’m going to pay you 100 bucks for a dead, eight-foot tree.” At some point, finding yourself in state other than the one in which you started, and having been told by the seventh tree ape to “shove it” in several languages and hand gestures, you decide to cut your losses (no pun intended) …

     

     

    puppet-elect

    Is Trump Kompromised?

    by | 1 | Dec 13, 2016
    Is Trump Kompromised?

    Perpetrators must first envisage crimes before they commit them. Often that entails a fantasy that their intended victims deserve what’s coming for having committed the same crime. Psychological projection helps dodge acceptance of moral responsibility. When the envisaged crimes are political, the fantasies projected onto opponents are often spun as conspiracy theories.

    After years of loopy conspiracism from populist conservatism it is easy to overlook the fact that as primary candidate, as party nominee, and even as President-elect, Donald Trump deployed only a few of the many available conspiracy theories to denounce Hillary Clinton…

     

     

    eternal choices

    Fahrenheit 1100

    by | 2 | Dec 13, 2016
    Light matter, Burning Man by Aaron Logan

    I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’ for you —Blue Oyster Cult

    Against a backdrop of clinking glasses and Motown’s “Baby Love,” TVs around the bar flashed breaking news—an airliner had crashed. The conversation shifted from football rivalries to death and friends who had recently crossed the Great Divide. That led to insurers’ euphemistic “final expenses.”

     

     

    family stories

    You Shouldn’t Rewrite History

    by | 4 | Dec 13, 2016
    Castle Forbes, Aberdeenshire, Scotland by Gilbert Scott

    It was a family story passed down to each generation and could have been made into a movie. In the days when the world needed more heroes my great grandfather quietly told the story of his survival from the Crimean War.

    My great grandfather John Cobban was born sometime between 1823 and 1828 when he was christened at Keig in Aberdeenshire, named after his father who was a tenant farmer on a 6,000 acre estate beside the River Don. He worked at the Forbes Estate until he left Scotland to join the 93rd Southern Highlanders and fight in the Crimean War…

     

     

    win what?

    The Republicans’ Tangled Web

    by | 0 | Dec 12, 2016
    The Republicans’ Tangled Web

    The day after the election a man wearing a gun in a pizza joint during lunch was crowing to me, “We elected ‘im!” Alabamians – gun-toting and otherwise – did vote overwhelmingly for Trump. But it was not just Alabama, was it? Every rural area in the country voted for Trump. Big money has run over the Democrats since Reagan, crushed lower-income people and used the resulting disillusionment to build a coalition based on ignorance and resentment …

     

     

    time running out

    Climate-change damage growing in Georgia, predicted to get much worse

    by | 0 | Dec 12, 2016
    Image: Flooding on Highway 80 from Savannah to Tybee Island by Craig Davidenko of DroneMedia.com

    Recurring floods on Route 80  from Savannah to Tybee Island provides evidence that sea-level rise is already taking its toll. As the climate continues to overheat, primarily due to the emission of greenhouse gases [GHGs] in burning and producing fossil fuels, sea-level rise and other impacts of climate change will get much worse.

     

     

    life-threatening problems

    After the Dustup, a Little Review

    by | 0 | Dec 6, 2016
    To be frank, now the election's over... our intent? Increase cost for you, profits for us (I'm smart)

    To many, the following outline might seem self-evident but given U.S. presidential election results, a review is apparently in order:

    1) The elite (1%) rule for the benefit of themselves, their agenda consisting always of the task of maintaining and expanding their power, privilege and profits.

     

     

    just gone

    Unremembered Beast Of Burden

    by | 3 | Dec 5, 2016
    "mule" by Greg Westfall is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

    That’s right. I chose a five-dollar word for saying what 50-cent “forgotten” says, for I come to exalt that legendary offspring of a female horse and donkey. The left-behind mule helped build the South and did so quietly without polluting the air. Then the combustion engine came along, and abandonment became the mule’s fate. It had already been condemned to death in many a story for it’s been said no Southern story is complete without a dead mule…

     

     

    grande dystopia

    The Starby Guy

    by | 0 | Dec 4, 2016
    Starbucks Flag

    Naw, you don’t have to waste your pamphlets on me. I’ll be voting the Green Lady, just like last time.

    I’m old enough to remember having my first Starbucks coffee, on a chill winter’s day back in 1991. So I guess you could say I was a Party man from way back… a whole lifetime ago, seems like.

    It was the Citizens United decision that changed everything. Once corporations were considered to be people …

     

     

    huuuge

    Trump to Build Canadian Wall to Keep Americans In

    by | 4 | Dec 1, 2016
    The Great Wall of Canada

    Trump Tower, USA – In what insiders call a “tweak” to his campaign pledge to build a border wall to keep Mexicans from sneaking into America, president elect Donald Trump plans to move the wall to the Canadian border – to keep terrified Americans from getting out.

    “It’s a testament to the power of his presidency,” said a Trump source. “He believes so strongly in …

     

     

    and a good eraser

    My Kingdom for a Pencil

    by | 4 | Dec 1, 2016
    My Kingdom for a Pencil

    “No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil.” – Virginia Woolf

    Liam, our four-year old Australian grandson, recently sent us his first handwritten thank-you note. He used a bright orange crayon on a green card. The letters weren’t all the same size, some were backward, and his name took up most of the page. My wife Jody and I laughed, and we immediately put the note on the refrigerator door.

     

     

    banished to the forgotten

    Burned To The Ground

    by | 4 | Nov 29, 2016
    Grandma's house burned to the ground before Thanksgiving - Photo by Tom Poland

    All burned houses look alike, a jumble of ashes, blackened metal, and charred wood. If you know the house that burned, however, you see ghosts. Just before Thanksgiving, my sister called—Grandmother’s home had burned to the ground. A flood of memories washed over me, like a time-lapse film where clouds stream overhead, dreamy and surreal.

    Ironic that it burned two days before Thanksgiving…

     

     

    red and black publishing

    Remembering a friend who served a unique nonprofit board service

    by | 1 | Nov 29, 2016
    Elliott Brack

    It’s best to have all types of people making up a nonprofit board.

    A good board consists of people coming at problems from several different angles, creating a board of advisers who can successfully lead the institution toward a good path. You want full and fair discussion, and not people who are essentially “Yes” persons who go along with whatever someone proposes.

    Every idea that comes up doesn’t need to see the continual light of day.

     

     

    who's your master?

    Mind-Changing Time In Georgia

    by | 4 | Nov 27, 2016
    Mind-Changing Time In Georgia

    When I started school outside Atlanta, I had some of the very same teachers who had taught my father years before, in the same oiled-floor buildings. Jonesboro was a small town with a big new highway, and was quickly “developing.” Just like everywhere else in the South, the only blacks at my school were janitors or lunchroom workers. Whites and blacks had never attended school together in the South before 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared school segregation illegal.

     

     

    first jobs

    The Telegram Boy

    by | 6 | Nov 25, 2016
    The Telegram Boy's Bicycle

    I have been away for a while, working on a secret project. You know one those “If I tell you I would have to kill you” kind of things.

    It was a good time to be away, not reading or listening to the “making the news” reports. My digital newspaper subscription had expired, the light on the Wi-Fi modem router was blinking red and water had penetrated the internet cable so I walked to the store early in the morning and bought a newspaper.

     

     

    southern medicine

    A bone scan was music to my ears

    by | 3 | Nov 24, 2016
    A bone scan was music to my ears

    Who would have thought that a bone scan could be such a pleasant experience?

    I didn’t. I figured I’d show up at Tidelands Health Waccamaw Hospital in Murrells Inlet, S.C., at the appointed hour, go downstairs to Nuclear Medicine, get an injection, lie on a table and listen to machinery whir around me, then get up and go home.

    But two musicians whose day job is in nuclear medicine at the hospital made the scan a truly harmonious (no pun) event.

     

     

    southern labor

    Nissan Canton: The Hypocrisy Continues

    by | 1 | Nov 24, 2016
    Nissan donates $20,000, conducts volunteer day for Mississippi Food Network's BackPack Program

    There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and corporate charity.

    Last Tuesday, Nissan Canton continued efforts to whitewash its reputation by giving $20,000 to the Mississippi Food Network’s BackPack program and sending employees to pose for promotional pictures pack lunches.

    “We are humbled to play a role in the efforts to ensure that no child experiences hunger,” corporate shill Vice President of manufacturing Steve Marsh was quoted as saying.

     

     

    could it get worse?

    Bad? How Bad?

    by | 2 | Nov 21, 2016
    Bad? How Bad?

    For example, here’s what long-time friend and mentor Alabama Senator Hank Sanders had to say about the election in his “Senate Sketches” newspaper article:

    I desperately called on my dear mother. Across the chasm of her death nearly 20 years ago, she reminded me of what she said to me and to her many children nearly sixty years ago. I felt her spirit moving within me. I was strengthened. Now, I can go on.

     

     

    why?

    Hicks In The Sticks Shouldn’t Be The Pundit’s Quick Fix

    by | 1 | Nov 16, 2016
    Trump 2016 Yes we klan

    For some two generations now, way too many American liberals have been beguiled by the facile trope of  “the Southernization of America,” which blames the nation’s shift to the right since the 1960s on the South’s rapid political, economic, and cultural ascent. If early takes on the 2016 presidential election, which chalk up Trump’s upset triumph to the “revenge” of the rural white voter in traditionally blue northern states and essentially leave it at that, are any indication, we may soon see “ruralization” supplant “Southernization” as the primary threat to political liberalism in this country.

     

     

    dr. ben carson did what?

    My Head Just Exploded

    by | 6 | Nov 16, 2016
    My Head Just Exploded

    Ok, first a quick update:
 I want to just say I’m very disappointed that it looks as though I did not win either the Electoral College or the popular vote.

    My campaign manager Mr. Mittens is digging through the early returns (and his bag of cat nip) in order to find out just where my campaign went south. So, unless the Supreme Court steps in I may not become president this time around. I am also deeply troubled to inform my supporters that my own mother didn’t vote for me…

     

     

    recollections

    The King of Main Street

    by | 1 | Nov 16, 2016
    Walter B. Smith — The King of Main Street

    Every town has its characters. But these “individualists” are usually formed by the character of the town itself.

    Sinclair Lewis’ great eponymous novel explored the hopeful adventures of would-be nonconformist George Babbitt, who fails to escape his everyday identity as a real-estate salesman, Rotary Club president, country club and lodge member, and proud wearer of the Booster pin of Zenith, his fictional midsize city. Lewis won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930 — the first American to take the honor — helped in large part by Babbitt …

     

     

    do we still believe?

    Polling Errors

    by | 2 | Nov 14, 2016
    Fiesta Girls

    Ever since the polls got Brexit and Trumpocalypse so wrong, inquiring minds have been wondering how could the pollsters, and by extension all the media, lead us astray?  In the past week, many publications like The New York Times have discussed the polling problems.

    As a survey researcher, my colleagues and I can think of many reasons, but the “science” has its own jargon, and is difficult to explain (or perhaps justify).  On private chat boards, they’re trying to figure out what went wrong, and how to deal with the PR problems that arise, muttering things like …

     

     

    the February 23rd coup

    The Humanization of the Military

    by | 0 | Nov 14, 2016
    The February 23rd Coup by Chaitram Singh

    Chaitram Singh’s novel The February 23rd Coup explores the lives of the men behind the military interventions in Latin America in a way in which the textbooks and other military novels cannot.

    Depicting the overflow of political and military frustrations through interactions between characters and their superiors, their government, relationships, loyalties, and their brothers-in-arms, the novel allows the reader to fully grasp the effects

     

     

    breaking through deadlocks

    Different is Not Bad

    by | 3 | Nov 13, 2016
    Different is Not Bad

    A friend recently asked, “Has anyone ever done a study to determine what causes the type of thinking that claims the only people with value are pretty much like me? If we knew this, could we use the knowledge to raise more caring, accepting children in the years ahead?”

    I can speak only for how hard I have found it to learn that lesson.  My father carefully, painstakingly educated me to have great expectations of people not like me, yet that education took a long time to take hold and become part of my character.

     

     

    tinfoil hat crazy

    Trump: Let Them Eat Conspiracy Theory

    by | 1 | Nov 13, 2016
    Trump: Let Them Eat Conspiracy Theory

    That Donald John Trump will be the 45th President of the United States still seems unreal and that sensation is not helped by the realization that millions of the Americans who voted for him may have done so because of runaway conspriracism. As the improbable candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, the billionaire real estate developer/reality television celebrity played to conservative gullibility by …

     

     

    no news is good news

    Perspective Is a Pedal Turn Away

    by | 0 | Nov 9, 2016
    Perspective Is a Pedal Turn Away

    Wednesday morning, my bicycle and I are leaving town, bound for Florida and a week-long ride across the Sunshine State. Far from intelligent design, the timing is lucky coincidence. But, there couldn’t be a better day to be shut off from the world by travel, nor a finer week to be pedaling the soft shoulder of some dusty Florida backroad.

    Unless, of course, all hell really does break loose Tuesday night. What if we ride into a riot? Our Daytona to Clearwater route is eerily close to the infamous I-4 corridor of Bush v. Gore lore.

     

     

    boyhood loves

    The Mayor’s Club

    by | 2 | Nov 6, 2016
    His Honor, the Mayor, Albert.V. Edwards with the Hendersonville Police (circa 1950)

    I grew up like the Reverend Billy Graham, who would say, “I did not know I was poor back then until someone told me that I was poor.” The country was still in the Great Depression throughout the 1930s, and we weren’t the only family that faced hardship. And there was a perk to being from “the other side of the tracks:” I was privileged to receive a real treat every Saturday morning – for I was a member of The Mayor’s Club.

     

     

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