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stoop to their level
Is being obnoxious catching? My email in-box is currently featuring messages with the following headings:
“Beat the snot out of them.“
“I’m here to kick some Tea Party ass.“
evening with bernie
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Vermont spoke this morning (10/18/13) at a union hall in Atlanta to an enthusiastic full house. The points he made in his talk and the town hall-like Q & A, though pretty wide-ranging, highlighted a couple items: extremist republican ideologues look around and realize, hell, we can’t ask people to vote for us so we can gut social security, medicare-medicade, veterans benefits, ship U.S. jobs to China and cut taxes for the wealthy.
love them once again
We were enjoying bar food and cold drinks at an East Columbia establishment. College football was on every hi-def TV and the place was buzzing with good vibes. The lady sitting across from me, one of my favorite people; was trying to keep the night from becoming a bummer while attempting to come to grips with the recent death of a young friend.
Her partner’s favorite nephew had lost his best friend to suicide. It was a bad combination of alcohol, overreaction, PTSD, and having a pistol handy.
If you remember the ’60s, you probably weren’t there.
It’s an oft-quoted line, usually good for a laugh, that has been attributed to comedian-actor Robin Williams. But in reality (What a concept!), whoever coined that aphorism suffered from judgment that is, shall we say, clouded. The joke is supposed to be that real, honest-to-God veterans of the 1960s were so zonked out on one thing or another…
Seeing no Visa sticker on the door and having all of two dollars in my wallet, I had to ask the tall moon-faced man in faded Carhartts, who’d just shaken my hand: “Y’all take plastic?”
“No, but we take green,” smiled Jeffery Vassel. “Green’s always welcome. And the gas station down there has a cash machine.”
you can't make this up
You can drive by a place 1,000 times and be unaware of its history. Such was the case for a small country store on Highway 378 in Edgefield County. Over the years I’ve passed the little store you see with this column 1,000 times and not once did I stop. That changed Sunday, October 13. I did pass it but I turned around, curious to see what the price of gas was on the old rusty pump, leaning like an old man with a cane.
in perpetuity for a while
Word that the North Georgia Methodist Conference might dispose of its 227-acre Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center in Peachtree Corners, fronting the Chattahoochee River, raises several questions.
Foremost in the mind of many is what will be the effect of future donors putting restrictions on property they give to non-profits. After all, the intent of Miss Ludie Simpson, who gave the property to the Methodists, was to keep the land intact.
write this, granny
I will live with Granny and I’ll have a mansion and a farm and a lot of money and Comcast. I’ll have a flat screen TV and pictures of Bruno Mars and Obama and Daddy and Mommy and Connor and Gianna and Clay and Scot and a picture of Granny.
We’ll have a large garden with flowers, pumpkins, vegetables, fruit and costumes for the farm animals on Halloween and Granny will be a Princess.
coming to terms
In Rabbi Joe’s class this week on Mussar, the Jewish ethical, educational and cultural movement that developed in the nineteenth century in Eastern Europe, I heard the words of the author Anne Tyler echo in my ears. In her book The Beginner’s Goodbye, she startles the reader right off by having the main character say,
“I have a couple of handicaps. I may not have mentioned that.”
good vs. evil
The American populace is split, nearly right down the middle, on critical issues: abortion, capital punishment, gun control, mandated health care, immigration, national debt, education, social support programs–the list goes on, and on, and on.
In his 1996 book Moral Politics, George Lakoff describes how different views of family structure and morality underlie this split. He claims the idea of a strong, authoritative father underlies conservative views whereas the concept of empathetic, nurturing parents underlies liberal views…
standing room only
These days I’m single, live alone in a comfortable bungalow in central Virginia. Despite moving house thirteen times in four different countries, I keep in touch with those I want to by letter, internet, telephone, Christmas cards and recollection. Many friends held dear I’ve not seen in years, but the ones I love, I cleave to; special souls are hard to find. With some it’s almost telepathic. Most of my loved ones are alive and kicking, although distant. The world’s not as small as I’d like it to be…
through the looking glass
Sociopaths make the Kool-Aid. The Crazies are the ones who drink it. Sociopathy and craziness have this in common: they are both forms of human “brokenness.”
Sociopaths are broken in their not being connected with the rest of humanity by bonds of empathy. They serve only themselves, using and exploiting others, caring nothing about the consequences for others or the greater good.
was i dreaming?
Whether I was subject to the zeitgeist of debt ceiling brinkmanship or pickles for supper, I had a bad night. I dreamed that Ted Cruz was running for president with Sarah Palin for VP. There are doubtless worse combinations, like Russ Limbaugh and the Donald (what a power struggle that would be, which would be Vice?). My nightmare made me sit up and tremble.
Having seen cultural changes from moon-in-June to hip hop heavy rotation slam rap…
deep mystery of the universe
“The labor of seaweed as it concentrates in its tissues the substances scattered … throughout the vast layers of the ocean; the industry of the bees as they make honey from the juices broadcast in so many flowers — these are but pale images of the ceaseless working-over that all the forces of the universe undergo in us in order to reach the level of the spirit.” — From The Divine Milieu by Teilhard de Chardin
No one, in my estimation, bridged the gulf between science and faith better…
I possess a handful of wonderful memories of my grandmother Sarah. I have always chosen to keep my memories simple and unadorned; I remember us taking walks around the jonquils and crocuses in the spring and watching her fry okra and potatoes in an old cast iron skillet on Sundays in the summer. In all cultures, the simple things in life are truly all that matter.
Through hook, crook, and sleight of hand I came to possess one of my grandmother’s workhorse cast iron skillets.
opportunity in gop poll
Everybody knows: the polls show a huge drop in the poll numbers for Republicans. What that means is that millions of people are in the process of changing their image of the Republican Party. For the worse. Maybe much worse.
But people have short memories. The image of the Republicans recklessly taking hostages over the shutdown and the threat of default…
think mother tiger
Last night I got a phone call about 8 o’clock on a dark, wet evening in Virginia from the “Nine-One-One Center,” an automated voice telling residents to “Lock all doors and windows, stay inside and don’t answer the door to anybody while the police are engaged in an incident at the (named) nearby park.” I live about two hundred yards from a 34-acre wooded park, normally considered an asset to our community.
I’ve lived through more threatening situations than you would credit…
southern gothic on speed
If you are tired of the same fluff reading that the major publishing houses try to shove down your throat each month; if you want something with some guts, some fortitude; if you want to read books that feel like a gravel road, backwoods stomp, happy hour at a honky-tonk, guiltless crime spree, then grit lit is the trailer park bar-b-que you need to find yourself posted up at. There is a new breed of gunslinger in town. The good news is their work pays respect to the Doc Hollidays and the Wyatt Earps who taught them how to shoot.
it could make you free
We all have one, it seems, a sister or brother-in-law who isn’t quite on the same political track. I found myself in a shouting match with mine in my Mom’s kitchen, to her consternation. It was in the Reagan 80s and we were discussing U.S. Central American policy. The term “gun-boat diplomacy” came up, him admitting that maybe in the distant past it happened but today… no. As sort of a crescendo to a rising-to-maximum rude volume he triumphantly shouted, in italics, bold, with exclamation points and in my face, “Open your eyes!!!”
a changed man
When you grow up with a hooligan in the neighborhood, you learn quickly to stay alert and to fight back or forever be a patsy to his terrorist tactics. I have Frank to thank for my first bloody nose and other important lessons in life, such as how to handle a hard grounder to third base. But he was a tough kid and a bully.
how to keep defeating them
Good for you for standing your ground. I hope you’ve noticed how useful, for the overall political picture, it has been for you to hold firm and leave this Republican Party exposed as the reckless, anti-democratic, warlike force it has become.
Helping the American people see clearly the nature of the force that’s taken over that Party is and remains Job One, because none of the other important tasks that confront us as a nation can be tackled successfully so long as they retain the power to prevent good things from being accomplished.
affordable care act
As the government shutdown drags on and America creeps ever closer to yet another economic catastrophe, it is important to clarify a few things about the sole focus of House Republicans’ full-scale obstruction. Most realize that the government shutdown is a direct result of a desperate effort to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but it is worth explaining exactly what it is that extremist Republicans are trying to stop.
colors against the shadows
The American marten’s body this morning had lost its lustrous sheen my wife Jody and I had marveled at yesterday when our dogs found it in the woods just off our drive. In the eighteen years I have lived here, this is only the second marten I’ve seen. I only got a glimpse of the first one years ago as he darted down off a rock and disappeared alongside the stream. We have no idea what killed this one, although we have coyotes and fox here who are natural predators.
I must have been around eight when Uncle Carroll handed me a shard of metal. I couldn’t believe what was in my hands. That jagged piece of silver metal, the skin of an aircraft, was about the size of a postcard but in my mind it was big. Really big. A jet had crashed in northeast Georgia and Uncle Carroll had retrieved a piece of it. Holding a remnant of a fighter jet in my hand was one of those moments I’d carry the rest of my life. That torn metal might as well have come from an alien spacecraft. I held it and marveled. “It came from a wing,” I thought.
Extortion is a Congressional staple. It’s what members have been using for decades to insure incumbency. What’s new is that the tactic is being exposed to public view because the executive is not going along and because the recently arrived Tea Party are novice players.
At what point will the rank-and-file of the Republican Party determine that the extreme right wing of their party is about to take their party down? The “don’t compromise at any price” GOP element seems intent to getting their way, no matter what, though this may seriously harm any effort by the mainstream Republican Party to move toward the center on any issue. It may blow the Republicans out of the water in the next election.
Certitude is one conviction for me that remains on the tip of the sword of Damocles, forever dangling out there within my eyesight and my concept of where I don’t want to be. As I grow older and less trusting of what appears to be progress but really isn’t, I can understand why some people just drop out, go off the grid, or simply refuse to participate in conventional life because of what they consider to be its increasingly chaotic and alienating nature
Worthy of Comment
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