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space lawyers consider
As every mother of adult children knows: bigger kids, bigger problems. This morning I found myself sending up a prayer of thanks that I am not Korean Kim’s Mom. “He was always a little monster,” I imagine his Mom confiding. Now he’s all grown up, probably wearing built-up shoes with his funky haircut, and there’s no end to the mischief he could get up to.
health insurance marketplace
As we creep ever closer to the day that 48,600,000 uninsured Americans have been waiting so long for… October first. The day the national insurance exchanges will open. The day that Teapuglicans have fought so tirelessly to prevent. It is time we were reminded of just how ruthlessly stupid our state leaders are. Perhaps, that isn’t fair. Maybe they are not stupid, just uninformed. Or perhaps, they are betting we are.
it’s the name
Years ago, when some friends were to spend a sabatical overseas, they entrusted their Caprice to me for safe-keeping. That turned into a peculiar experience. Strangers kept asking me if I would be interested in selling them the car. It reminded me of being propositioned for a “good time” in certain neighborhoods of New York City and Washington, D.C. What attracted attention to the Caprice was a puzzlement, but in the years since, it’s been stolen from the same owners any number of times, apparently for joy rides, and then abandoned when it ran out of gas. Maybe it’s the name that triggers the theft.
conservatism in the tank
When Sen. Jim DeMint, the upper chamber’s godfather of Tea Party nihilism, abruptly announced his retirement from his lawmaking career and his plans to take over as president of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, the consensus in Washington was that this was a step down for a guy who had never done all that much in the first place. For goodness’ sake, the pundits wailed, what legacy does this man think he’s leaving behind? What authorship can he claim for any significant—or, for that matter, trivial or failed—piece of legislation?
During the Mid-sixties, a regional band called the James Gang had one local hit that everyone I knew loved beyond reason. The song was called “Georgia Pines.” It was a ballad about regret and the South. Every boy in my orbit could handle sensitivities like that without being called inappropriate slurs. A few years later while browsing in a record store (remember those?) I found an album by the James Gang and my heart pounded like the pile drivers just starting to proliferate on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
In a surprise garden event, the groundhog had bypassed all the ripening vegetables to get to the lamb’s quarters, an edible but common invasive weed. In his book More Scenes From The Rural Life, Verlyn Klinkenborg stands unnoticed for a few seconds watching the voracious eater who has made the effort to break into the garden only to nibble on a weed. He likens the surprising incident to discovering a burglar in your house intent on shampooing the carpets rather than stealing the valuables.
neither darkness nor light
The music played. She danced with slight, tentative steps, a tulip too heavy for its stem.
When I read my copy of The Writer’s Almanac this morning, these words from the poem ”Old Age Home” by Burt Kimmelman jumped out at me, especially as I continue to ponder the death of a friend who had passed recently and most unexpectedly. Sitting in the last pew of the church listening to the well-scripted mass “celebrating” her life, I was left wondering about the simplicity and conviction of those who spoke.
Perhaps Governor Nathan Deal and his insurance commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, have as their heroes the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.
History recalls all of these prominent figures hell-bent on insisting that their individual states could “nullify” acts of Congress, and not pay attention to the laws of the United States. They saw nullification as a remedy when they felt the Federal Government as reaching too far and absorbing the powers of the individual states.
When the oil tanker Exxon Valdez went aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989, releasing more than 240,000 barrels of crude into a pristine environment, there was more behind it than an alcoholic captain. Exxon had downsized 40% of its personnel in a cost-cutting spree that included safety and environmental departments. At the same time the Reagan administration had downsized the coast guard as part of its near-fanatic belief in privatization and less government. The disaster thus was worse than it might have been…
man of peace
I read your op-ed in The New York Times yesterday, and your decision to push your message through America’s most widely read news source still baffles me. I can only assume you were attempting to reach the American people. But why? Americans do not support military action in Syria in the first place. Do you even read The New York Times?
down the drain
Half dozen of the other. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Creatures of habit have an advantage. When they repeat what’s failed in the past, it comes as a surprise. Add to that the cliché and the euphemism as instruments of deception and you’ve got the essential ingredients of clandestine enterprise. John McCain has been running his own foreign policy shop at the International Republican Institute (set up by Congress in 1983) for so long that it has probably become a cliché.
Hard as it is to believe, we almost went to war because our president “issued” a metaphor. And how exactly do you “issue” a metaphor anyway? Our president knew it wasn’t an actual red line since he said it and didn’t draw it, but had it been real, couldn’t we have just gotten an eraser out, or just started with a clean slate? Oops, a clean slate is a metaphor – not something real. Fortunately for us and especially fortunate for those in Syria who would have been blown to paradise for being inside the metaphorical red line… damn, there I go again.
Before I try to convince you that calf’s liver really does deserve to be in the Top 100 Best Meals, I need to give you some insight into how my list is going. I had a setback, of sorts. Yesterday, I was fooling around with my Top Twenty, pulling some out, adding some in, but Number One and Number Two, as far as I was concerned, were chosen. They were sacrosanct. My Number Two was potato salad—my mom’s potato salad, to be exact, and there was no way in hell I was moving it, unless it went up. Then it struck me—many people—those other than my sister and me, for example…
reflect on this
One day in 1979 I was on a plane between Los Angeles and San Diego after a transatlantic flight from London, my first solo trip. I’d saved the fare while working in a friend’s restaurant. Three passengers, one of them me, were invited by the crew to enter the cockpit and chat with the pilot. He scrutinized me and asked “What do you do?” “I’m a housewife,” I answered, unused to brash social intercourse and overlooking my part-time catering partnership as cook and book keeper. His eyes glazed over as he turned to the next passenger.
Failure is written all over the Joint Statement on Syria issued on September 6th meeting of the Group of 20 in St. Petersburg. Only 11 of the 20 leaders present – the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Saudi Arabia – signed on to the condemnation of Damascus. Thus the opposite of the international moral consensus that is supposed to be the foundation of international law.
Worse from the standpoint of the Obama administration, the text of the statement does not endorse military action.
One recent evening, I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and feeling very happy. Yes, the activity was mundane, but I was where I’d chosen to be, doing what I’d chosen to do. And my surroundings were so pleasant–my inviting kitchen opening onto a colorful living room adorned with plants, and the summer night sounds coming in through the open window. All of this suddenly felt SO precious to me, SO different from the day before, which I’d spent mostly in jail.
Mr. Peabody, the erudite dog in the Bullwinkle cartoons, had his WABAC (“way back”) machine for visiting the past. George Foster Peabody, no relation, has his own version of the WABAC, though it’s more time capsule than time machine. A very large time capsule.
It’s called the Peabody Awards Collection. Just about every radio, TV and web entry in the University of Georgia’s Peabody Awards competition has been filed and preserved in the collection since the awards program was launched some 72 years ago.
the corporate agenda
Thanks to a leak by the group, Public Citizen, we now have access to some of the contents of the next international trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This deal is being reviewed and commented on by 600 some corporations with the usual representation of environmental, labor and social-justice concerns – zero. This corporate wet-dream is so secret that even the few U.S. senators who’ve had a peek are not allowed to publically discuss its provisions.
There is no “moral argument” for killing. None whatsoever. Think about it. Killing to prevent killing makes no logical sense. The drive to kill is always an emotional one, always colored by something other than reason. Killing is violence, no matter how it’s done, and violence is a crime of passion, always. Anger, hatred, jealousy, hubris, arrogance. A human being cannot kill another without that passion, and with it, reason is lost. The words “humanitarian” and “war” don’t belong in the same breath, at least not without the stipulation that they are irreconcilable.
idea of place
What was in the closet in Virginia Woolf’s room of her own? What kind of high-collared blouses were hanging there? Was there a hat box to hold some of the wide brims she liked to sport? What did her sense of place give her?
The idea of place has always been on my mind. I have a firm spot in my recollections of the places I have lived, where I have planted gardens, where I have enjoyed good times and bad with loved ones, and where I have buried pets and memories.
Though the effort moves so slowly, President Obama has said that he will remove our combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014. It can’t come soon enough, in my opinion.
Yet now the President is considering imposing some sort of military action in another part of the world where peace has been elusive for centuries, this time in Syria. This worries me.
It was never my intention for the girls down the street to see me in my Superman suit.
My mother, a talented and inventive seamstress, had made me the outfit after I had become addicted to the Superman TV series starring George Reeves. It was a harmless diversion for an 8 year old.
Ezra Klein from the Washington Post wrote a thoughtful piece last week on the connection between the runaway costs of medical care and college tuition. He argues that since these are two goods that people need so badly, there is very little leverage for the consumer and, therefore, no pressing reason for colleges and health care providers to curtail the rapid increase of costs.
Klein also sees a similarity in how the Obama administration plans on making the two industries more accessible to all Americans, namely by moving both from pay-for-service models to pay-for-performance models.
the insurance racket
Protection is a racket and insurance is the handle. The insurance commissioners in every state are why a single payer health care system for all Americans was infeasible. So, here we’ve got Ralph Hudgens, a graduate of the University of Florida, explaining how obstructing the free market and milking the populace works.
Is bigger better?
That’s a question we’ve been thinking about for years. What originally got us thinking about this was the question the nation faced during the initial part of the recent economic turndown, when there was talk that some major banks were “too big to fail.”
long, long way to go
One thousand and fifty eight words and not a single one was “dream.” That’s how far Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was into his famous 1963 speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before he gave voice to the phrase that would crystallize a movement, personify his too-short time on earth, and cast his legacy that would endure long past the final echoes of an assassin’s gunshot disappeared into the Memphis night.
stinginess of the working class
Although it is years late to the party, the Wall Street Journal is finally acknowledging the negative impact that low wages have on the American economy, albeit in a twisted, delusional manner. A front page graph from Monday’s WSJ shows the decline in employee wages since 2010. The caption underneath the graph reads:
“Economists fret that stagnant wages are hampering growth in the U.S. as consumers, the biggest driver of the economy, are reluctant to spend more unless their pay grows. Workers think they can’t push for raises because they feel they have limited bargaining power.”
Worthy of Comment
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