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Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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  • Writer Login


    beauty, peace and healing

    Boilie

    by | 2 | Sep 21, 2016
    Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) by sheilapic76 - Dolphind

    Our entire family has always been drawn to the water and boats and dolphins. We went to Marineland years ago, when David was four years old and Kathi was only one. David immediately fell in love with Nellie – the main performing dolphin in the late sixties. (Nellie was born at Marineland in 1953 and lived there for 61 years. When she died in 2014, she set a longevity record for the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins – free and in captivity. She loved to perform and interact with people until the last few months of her life!) We bought David a leather dolphin, which he named Nellie and slept with for years.

     

     

    earth and its peoples

    Standing with Standing Rock and Sacred Stone Camp

    by | 1 | Sep 21, 2016
    Standing Rock Indian Reservation

    “Resistance to high-risk extreme extraction is building a global, grassroots, and broad-based network the likes of which the environmental movement has never seen.” Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything (2014)

    Something extraordinary and unprecedented is happening within the environmental movement. The epicenter of this “Earth”-quake is Sacred Stone Camp on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. For some time, a small group of Standing Rock Lakota (“Sioux”) has gathered on the banks of the Cannon Ball River to protest the continued development of the “black serpent“…

     

     

    what kind of person?

    All Republican Patriots Must Choose Party or Principle

    by | 0 | Sep 21, 2016
    All Republican Patriots Must Choose Party or Principle

    “Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.” – Winston Churchill

    No one who feels allegiance to a political party wants to have to choose between party and principle. But sometimes history compels people to make that choice.

    That is how a large group of prominent people, who describe themselves as “members of the Republican national security community,” see their situation in this year’s presidential election.

     

     

    why not

    Email Fisticuffs

    by | 5 | Sep 19, 2016
    Email Fisticuffs

    This is where we agree, I think: we both oppose people who harm others, who want to dominate, deny liberty, lie to make themselves look good and others bad, deny people their rights under the constitution and the bill of rights and also our rights under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed I think by all member nations (this latter item provoked immediate condemnation).

     

     

    perception v. reality

    The Duty to Hate Hillary

    by | 0 | Sep 19, 2016
    The Duty to Hate Hillary

    A letter in the most recent AARP Magazine got me thinking. The previous issue of the magazine had a piece titled “Leading Ladies,” featuring several older actresses – Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda, and Alfre Woodard – who have done well despite Hollywood’s long-standing ageism.

    The letter-writer, describing himself as a Vietnam-era veteran, felt insulted by the inclusion of Jane Fonda, whom he remembers bitterly “as the traitor ‘Hanoi Jane.'”

     

     

    nature rules

    A Little Breathing Room

    by | 1 | Sep 12, 2016
    A Little Breathing Room

    We were on a mission and there we stood at the dead end of a long Lowcountry road in searing heat. Anonymous Mysterious Florida Woman, Robert Clark, and yours truly were waiting on a ferry. Standing too long in a roasting September sun can evaporate resolve, but not ours. September no doubt pilfered some July heat. These days, it’s as hot as the hinges of … well, you know, and especially so where the continent runs into the sea, but the heat be damned. We were about to cross the Intracoastal Waterway and set foot on primitive South Island.

     

     

    oneness of reality

    Atheist Believers: A Religious/Existentialist Wedding

    by | 0 | Sep 12, 2016
    Face of God by Tom Ferguson

    The meaning of the word God, in my congregation during my formative years, was conventional, literal biblical, bearded guy in the sky taking notes, who’s been naughty, who’s been nice. This got challenged, or should I say devastated, when I walked into a design class in art school conducted by Myron Kozman – think Richard Dawkins mischievously assailing received wisdom.

    The standard response to information that conflicts with one’s point of view is either denial or point of view adjustment. My congregation, confronted with Professor Kozman, would have chosen, hands down, the denial…

     

     

    making a difference

    Colin Kaepernick is Sitting Down, But Will He Stand Up?

    by | 1 | Sep 11, 2016
    Colin Kaepernick Sits During National Anthem

    Colin Kaepernick’s protest of injustice in America by not standing for the national anthem is absolutely his right, and we are now seeing a few more players following suit in support of his cause. All this is well and good, and while there are many who do not believe this is an appropriate method of voicing his position, how a person chooses to protest and their wiliness to accept any backlash that comes is a matter of their own prerogative and conscience.

    Sadly, injustice, intolerance, bigotry and racism are a bane upon civilization that has been with us since man came out of the cave …

     

     

    nipping at my curiosity

    Rambling Around in Georgia

    by | 0 | Sep 11, 2016
    Downtown Waycross Historic District by Daffydoc via Wikipedia.org

    Every town has its own history and attractions; some well-known and some not very. Haunted houses, churches and other buildings are always interesting. Court houses and old jails, too. Sometimes small towns are more appealing and accessible than the bigger ones. Fewer people with less interest in what you’re looking for. The locals have sometimes lost interest in their own little treasures; that leaves more room for you and me us to touch, shake and sniff …

     

     

    truth – google it

    I Read It On the Internet

    by | 0 | Sep 10, 2016
    “Sometimes, I go on the internet and just tell lies” – George Washington

    When President Obama said, at the Democratic National Convention, that Hillary Clinton is better prepared to occupy the Oval Office than any previous aspirant, he had no idea how right he was. This woman has powers that mere mortals don’t. She’s way past bitch all the way to witch. I mean literally. I know because I read it on the Internet.

    Think about it. Forty people who were slated to testify to her criminal malfeasance in letting the American Consulate at Benghazi, Libya, get incinerated have all been murdered. And although my Facebook informant is kind of shaky on the details, he’s absolutely certain …

     

     

    vp candidate, green party

    An Interview with Ajamu Baraka

    by | 1 | Sep 8, 2016
    Vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka and presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein at the 2016 Green Party convention

    Disappointment and boredom have left many Americans with the suspicion that something essential to democracy is missing from the 2016 presidential contest as it is covered by corporate news media… and they are correct. The presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the two major parties are painfully uninspiring and their ideas promise nothing but different versions of ‘more of the same.’ Americans are hungrier than ever for leaders willing to confront entrenched power. Which is why I was delighted to interview Ajamu Baraka, the Vice Presidential for the Green Party

     

     

    unforgetable

    Good Night, Lois Kelly, Wherever You Are

    by | 4 | Sep 8, 2016
    Good Night, Lois Kelly, Wherever You Are

    I’m not prone to posting video of myself talking. But, in this case, what I need to say isn’t something I could type now even if I wanted to. Still the words are ones I’ve been unable to stop repeating for 40 years.

    The ability to recite the Prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in Middle English has perhaps proven useful in the waning hours of a few cocktail parties over the years. But, it’s never been something to feature on a resume or bring up in a job interview. I’m waiting, but LinkedIn still hasn’t included this as a skill to tag in my profile.

     

     

    except greed

    Reasons for Denying Climate Change

    by | 0 | Sep 8, 2016
    Reasons for Denying Climate Change

    Everybody has reasons not to want to believe what scientists are saying about climate change.

    For starters, who wants to believe that we humans are facing our greatest challenge ever? Life is hard enough, just meeting the challenges of taking care of our families.

    And most of us resist change. It’s so much easier to just keep on doing what we’re doing.

    And who wants to accept the troubling news that our children and grandchildren will be hurt unless we act responsibly in the face of the unwelcome truth.

     

     

    ms. misogyny

    Finally!

    by | 6 | Sep 7, 2016
    Fear and Loathing with Phyllis Schlafly by the author, Trevor Irvin

    Phyllis Schlafly has finally made millions of people very happy … she died. It was a simple, but gratifying act. Many hoped it would have happened much sooner, but as they say, better late than never. It occurs to me that there are a few others it would be nice to see follow suit. Are you listening Cheney?

    Schlafly, a working women who hated women who worked, was an expert on self-loathing. She so hated her kind that she didn’t want to stop at shredding equal rights and equal pay for women; she hoped one day to become a Jewish Nazi and send herself to a death camp where she could have all her rights and humanity exterminated.

     

     

    summer 1943

    Remembering Atlanta

    by | 2 | Sep 7, 2016
    Piedmont and Tenth Street in the 1940’s(Georgia State University Library)

    My “Old Maid Aunt” Naomi, prided herself on being “the only woman used car dealer in Atlanta.” Her car lot was on Lucky Street on the way to downtown Atlanta from where she lived on Piedmont Avenue. Seemed like thousands of cars passed her place daily – or hourly.

    It was the summer of 1943 and I was a 14-year old. World War II was in full swing. I was scheduled to go into 8th grade at Christ School in Arden, a private school that was to cost $600 including room and board. My Dad was operating a grocery store, meat market and café in Fletcher, NC. I would have done almost anything that summer not to have to deal with killing cows and pigs and helping prepare them for sale in my Dad’s grocery store. I had that experience once, and that was enough.

     

     

    what if

    Almost

    by | 2 | Sep 7, 2016
    President Jimmy Carter relaxed at his desk in the Oval Office in April 1978

    The country was at peace; internally and around the world. We had issues; Russia was being aggressive, Central America was volatile, Israel and Egypt, of course. But America didn’t have a standing army fighting for some trumped up reason against people defending a place most of us couldn’t locate on a globe. In fact, Egypt and Israel would sign an historic accord to establish peace between the two countries during this year.

    The Son of Sam had been convicted and John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy had been arrested. The first mobile phone was introduced and Carl Sagan won a Nobel Prize. While inflation was still persistent, things were looking up …

     

     

    snobby pronunciation

    Do Peking Ducks Know Their Name Has Been Changed?

    by | 1 | Sep 7, 2016
    Do Peking Ducks Know Their Name Has Been Changed?

    When I was growing up, the Chinese capital was pronounced “PEE-king.” There was no latitude in the pronunciation of this word. It was not POO-king nor PIE-king. It was PEE-king. To deliberately say the word otherwise would be risking a paddle swatted against your rump for cutting up or being a pest in class.

    Then a few years ago, I noticed newscasters and politicians saying “BAY-sheeng,” instead of the well-worn, polished word implanted in my vocabulary. They would have a sneaky look on their faces like they were putting one over on us.

     

     

    loved by all who knew her

    Friends Called Her Kitty

    by | 4 | Sep 6, 2016
    Friends Called Her Kitty

    My daughters’ last grandparent died last week. The call came in at 7:45 in the morning August 24. My daughter, Becky, delivered the sad news. “Daddy, grandmom died.”

    Katherine Crane, “Kitty,” Ross had passed away August 23 near Athens. She was 91.

    For many, losing your last surviving grandparent is a prelude to your parents’ departure to the Great Beyond. Call it training. The death of pets and grandparents paves the path to that sad day when we sit by the graveside and bid a parent farewell. That’s the route life carved out for others and me …

     

     

    forbidden fruit

    Unh, hunh

    by | 1 | Sep 5, 2016
    Unh, hunh

    Dylan mocked, “. . . with God on our side.”

    The Boy Scouts award a “God and Country” merit badge.

    Nick Searcy sloganed,  “God bless America – and no place else !”

    And those longing for the “good old days” tend to lean to the right side of the political spectrum embracing “Guns and God.”

    But who is this God?

    And does he belong to the Republican Party?

    I say there is proof in Genesis, that He does.

     

     

    heavenly bodies

    I’ll see you in my dreams

    by | 2 | Sep 5, 2016
    I’ll see you in my dreams

    Disaster

    I dreamed that my husband and I had bought a caravan and were towing it up a steep incline behind his rather old banger. (In reality we bought a caravan twenty years ago and towed it to France.) We felt a judder in the tow bar and he pulled over cautiously to the left of the road, but at that moment the caravan broke free, rolled past us and as we’d just reached the summit, careened at gathering pace down the other side of the bumpy mountain. We followed it with mounting panic, hoping nobody would be hurt as it left the road and ploughed through hedges and fields of crops …

     

     

    something more

    When We Can No Longer Agree to Disagree

    by | 4 | Sep 1, 2016
    When We Can No Longer Agree to Disagree

    In “We Take Care of Our Own,” New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote last month about conflicting world views of nationalism and globalism. To these, he added the notion of moral particularists and moral universalists, borrowing ideas from an essay by NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt published in The American Interest. Paraphrasing, Brooks describes the nationalist/particular world view: “They’ve built moral systems on loyalty and support for their own kin and fellow citizens…

     

     

    i will

    Bob Dylan, take note: The times they have done changed

    by | 6 | Sep 1, 2016
    Vintage wedding cake by pompixs and licensed at DepositPhotos.com

    Whatever happened to simple weddings?

    My wife Margaret and I got married 34 years ago in her parents’ living room, in Columbia, with maybe 10 people, tops, in attendance.

    This past Thursday, Aug. 25, we drove to Athens, Ga., to make arrangements relating to our youngest son’s upcoming wedding featuring (at last count) 300 guests!

     

     

    just political applesauce

    Enjoying Fritz Hollings’ colorful language again

    by | 1 | Aug 30, 2016
    Sen. Hollings at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on product liability, Feb. 19, 1986. (CitizensForACompetitiveAmerica.com)

    More than a decade after South Carolina’s Fritz Hollings left the United States Senate, people still talk about how he would talk about things.

    Whenever Hollings took the floor of the Senate to make a speech, staffers would often stop their day-to-day business and watch on the Senate’s internal television network to listen to what he would say.

    “That’s like delivering lettuce by way of a rabbit,” Hollings could be heard when discussing something dysfunctional about government spending.

     

     

    no atheists in hell

    Six Churches, Six Miles, Six Weeks # 2: Morganton Baptist Church

    by | 2 | Aug 27, 2016
    Six Churches, Six Miles, Six Weeks # 2: Morganton Baptist Church

    It was hard to resist the Morganton Baptist Church marquee headline I saw a couple of weeks ago during my Sunday bike ride: “There are no atheists in hell… they believe.” How could a pagan agnostic not walk into that one? Was it going to be feet first into a cauldron of fire? Dante’s Inferno, I wondered?

    So last Sunday, I ditched the bike ride because of rain, took a shower and put on my Sunday best to blend in better with the congregation.

     

     

    underground airlines

    Moral Universes: An Interview with Ben H. Winters

    by | 0 | Aug 27, 2016
    Moral Universes: An Interview with Ben H. Winters

    American novelists have been disturbing comforting denials about the evils of racism since the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. Ben H. Winters’ carries on that proud tradition with his latest novel, Underground Airlines, a brilliant exploration of the relationship between political compromise and personal complicity. Winters graciously offered to answer my questions about his writing.

     

     

    illogical abuse of discourse

    Jingoism works. Incoherence works. Name-calling works.

    by | 0 | Aug 26, 2016
    Grampy’s Thinking cap is a gif created from the Betty Boop cartoon, “Betty Boop and Grampy,” produced by Max Fleischer in 1935

    With the general election less than two months away, I’m exhausted almost daily putting new batteries into my thinking cap so that I can be a responsible, critical listener to the appeals of all candidates.

    I was an English professor for 44 years before I retired in 2001, but I dare not place my brain on automatic pilot given the billions spent to persuade us. In 1958-59, my first year of teaching, without comment I gave to a class at Auburn University, then still under legally mandated segregation, a pamphlet circulated by the Ku Klux Klan …

     

     

    southern moments

    The Saw Shop Blues

    by | 1 | Aug 24, 2016
    The Saw Shop Blues

    When I was twelve, my first regular job was working in Dad’s saw shop on Saturdays. Back then the shop was a tin building with no insulation. Summers broiled its tin. Winters chilled its concrete floor. Neither heat nor cold stopped pulpwooders from bringing their dead and dying chainsaws to Dad’s shop where he and Bobby Cooper revived them. Before they could work miracles with vices, screwdrivers, and wrenches, it fell upon me to remove the gummy black pine resin from covers protecting the saw’s inner workings. They couldn’t work on the saws until I cleaned and dismantled them…

     

     

    can't go home again

    Duddy’s Permanent Record

    by | 6 | Aug 24, 2016
    Duddy’s Permanent Record

    Dudley Snodgrass, called “Duddy” was a very intelligent boy. He learned to talk and walk at a young age, and in school his grades were perfect. His mother adored him, his teachers were constantly bragging on him. The other kids called him “Einstein” and “Brain” and some secretly resented him. Some not so secretly.

    Painful, crippling shyness was the only chink in Duddy’s armor. When called on in class, he would turn beet red and stammer a stuttering answer. He would get physically ill when he had to stand before the class and give a book report…

     

     

    all that

    To Be a Teacher

    by | 6 | Aug 22, 2016
    To Be a Teacher

    By the fourth or fifth grade I knew I wanted to be a school teacher. Before then I had known only women teachers and the thought hadn’t yet taken shape. But after having Mr. Phelps and Mr. Taylor as role models – although nobody was calling them that back then – I was pretty much convinced. They could make English and history seem happy. Besides, I was finally planning to do what had been predicted for me earlier by my kinfolk. I was born a school house; they said I was marked to teach. Predestined, I guess.

     

     

    justice for all people

    Advocating Human Rights Is Not Anti-Semitic

    by | 0 | Aug 22, 2016
    Advocating Human Rights Is Not Anti-Semitic

    The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement (BDS) calls for the international community to put economic pressure on Israel to end its flagrant violations of human rights. It demands an end to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the dismantling of the apartheid wall; equal rights for Palestinians in Israel; and the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Thus, although BDS does not take a direct stance on the question of a one- or two-state solution, the policies it champions would lay the foundation for a just peace by moving the region closer to a bi-national, truly democratic society.

     

     

    backstage person

    Hillary Clinton Is a Victim of Her Virtues

    by | 13 | Aug 22, 2016
    Hillary Clinton by Mike Mozart

    When a Facebook friend slammed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton recently as a “godawful (sic) human being,” that triggered images of god-awful human beings like – you know–Adolf Eichmann, Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden. Turns out that the Facebooker wasn’t thinking of crimes against humanity but Clinton’s failure to be entirely forthcoming about her State Department e-mails. Since that didn’t seem to me to make the cut for “god-awful human being,” I thought again, as I often have, about why Clinton inspires such thoughtless vitriol. I think it’s because she’s a victim of her virtues.

     

     

    the monster – its alive

    Nation faces scary times with November election

    by | 0 | Aug 22, 2016
    Nation faces scary times with November election

    The seeds of a new revolution are in the ground. If they get enough water in the November election, there’s no telling what will happen. Pundits, who often only seem to talk to each other and read pointy-headed reports and memos written by peers, appear totally confounded about what’s going on in the electorate as tanking GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to foment disarray and discontent. Just when the talking heads think they’ve got Trump figured out, he does something new that bewitches them more – to the delight of his followers.

     

     

    home grown

    An Act of Terrorism

    by | 1 | Aug 19, 2016
    1996 olympic bombing atlanta cnn

    Twenty years ago this summer, America was rocked by a terrorist attack. A religious fanatic radicalized by fundamentalist ideas planted a bomb at a crowded location during a major sporting event. The device he built killed one person and injured 120 more. The death toll could easily have been in the hundreds.

    That same terrorist planted three more bombs that injured and killed over the next two years; bombs targeting places he arrogantly linked to the causes he felt were worth murdering innocents for…

     

     

    for delivery

    The Pizza Proposal with a diamond topping

    by | 0 | Aug 19, 2016
    The Pizza Proposal with a diamond topping

    I know you’ve heard that love will find a way. Me, too, but who knew that a pepperoni pizza could be part of Cupid’s plan? You listening?

    He was a boy, 26, from Columbia, South Carolina. She was a girl, 23, from Albany, Georgia. He graduated (English) from the University of South Carolina (Go, Gamecocks!). She graduated (social work) from the University of Alabama (Roll, Tide!). This Southern boy and this Southern girl first met in Charleston, South Carolina, that Holy City of the American South. This Southern twosome fell in love in Charleston…

     

     

    byob

    Six Churches, Six Miles, Six Weeks # 1: Toccoa Baptist Church

    by | 4 | Aug 17, 2016
    Six Churches, Six Miles, Six Weeks # 1: Toccoa Baptist Church

    Riding my bike up and down the hills of old highway 76 in Morganton, GA, in the North Georgia mountains, I come across six churches within a six mile stretch of the ride interspersed between pastures of grazing horses and bovine cows and hills and meadows decorated with farm houses and log cabins. I wonder what the services are like, who the people are, what they believe in and why they survive in our secular age.

    It is not unusual to see a church on every street corner in Georgia.

     

     

    dismantling memories

    The Inevitable Sad Task

    by | 4 | Aug 17, 2016
    The Inevitable Sad Task

    My house is starting to look like Mom’s. Here’s the painting the late Jim Harrison signed for her. Here’s my portrait as a young man that long hung in what we called the “Christmas room.” Over there on the sofa is a shimmering gold, green, and red throw I gave her for Christmas before illness plagued her. By the TV console is her end table and blue china lamp. Beneath the lamp stands a beautiful milky white vase with a pair of partridges painted upon it, and by it are matching blue porcelain music boxes.

     

     

    social equality and justice

    The Thoughts of a White Undergrad

    by | 1 | Aug 16, 2016
    Black Lives Matter by Ella via flickr

    In the wake of the gruesome events of the past few weeks between police officers and black civilians, it’s worth noting that the black community is not alone in their anger and sorrow. In fact, I stand by you and though I don’t and can never understand what you’re going through, I do sympathize with you. My heart and soul hurts when I see the news of yet another young black man being fatally shot by police. The continuous murder of young black men by police officers MUST CEASE. For this to be happening in this day and age in the US is deplorable.

    That being said, when we look at the history of America, these events are not isolated ones.

     

     

    a cry from the heart

    How to Think about “Black Lives Matter”

    by | 0 | Aug 16, 2016
    Black Lives Matter by Joe Brusky via flickr

    We’d likely have less controversy over the slogan, “Black Live Matter,” if we had more of a shared understanding of the relevant American reality.

    Sometimes a single clue reveals something big about that reality. There’s the clue, for example, that we white people have heard about in recent times in the wake of headlined shootings of unarmed black men. It’s “the talk” that many black parents give to their children, especially their sons.

     

     

    profits, privilege and power

    Dark Money, Jane Mayer

    by | 0 | Aug 15, 2016
    The Spoils of War by the author © Tom Ferguson

    The Billionaire’s Club is a 28-page political cartoon that is my take on how power works in the U.S. The book portrays billionaires getting together at the club and initiating a new member into the fold. It was a device I used to talk about how the 1% have disproportionate influence on our democracy and so are obstacles to addressing the crisis we face. I didn’t think that the 1% conspiratorially met, save socially – they do run in the same circles – it’s just that their interests overlap and acting separately, supporting similar causes, political candidates etc; it is as-if they acted jointly. This is true.

     

     

    life illuminated

    The Power of Photography: An Interview with Katie Archibald-Woodward

    by | 0 | Aug 14, 2016
    Love Wins, Bethlehm by Katie Archibald-Woodward

    Katie Archibald-Woodward is a photojournalist and minister who produces arresting images of resistance to oppression in Palestine/Israel and here in the United States. Katie seems constantly on the move but she can be claimed by both Atlanta and Los Angeles. I caught up with her long enough to ask questions about the power of her art. She was also kind enough to share some of her work here.

    John: As your photos remind us, photography can be an extraordinarily powerful medium.  Do you have any thoughts about the secret of its power to move us?

     

     

    southern leaders

    We need more inspirational leaders like William Winter

    by | 1 | Aug 14, 2016
    Winter, in center, at a Mississippi church. Photos courtesy The Winter Institute.

    Whenever there’s a letter or card in the mail from Mississippi, it’s bound to be inspirational. And it’s bound to be from a guy you might not have heard of but should know more about.

    Meet former Mississippi Gov. William F. Winter, a public sector healer whose decency, goodness and vision for a better South gently motivates people to be kinder and more accepting of each other.

     

     

    confronting obstructionism

    Here’s the Question Hillary Should Be Asked

    by | 0 | Aug 9, 2016
    Hillary Clinton - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

    Madame Secretary, you have said that as president, you’ll “break the gridlock in Washington.” You have also said that you are good at reaching “across the aisle” to get things done.

    But although President Obama also reached across the aisle, the Republicans — rather than work in Congress — rather than work with him — never budged from their determination to obstruct everything he proposed. And it didn’t matter what were the specifics of his proposal, The Republicans chose to obstruct across-the-board in order to make him fail.

     

     

    true confessions

    How to speak Southern

    by | 6 | Aug 4, 2016
    Y'all Ain't From Around Here

    Okay, get the handcuffs ready. I’m about to confess:

    By day, I am Robert Lamb, famous author of great novels. No, wait! Make that “relatively unknown author whose books were best-sellers in certain quarters,” namely my mother’s bridge club.

    But by night I am, by design, mind you, the equally unknown author whose nom de plume is (drum roll, please) Cooper Riverbridge …

     

     

    feckless and reckless

    Was I Wrong About Conservatives Caring About Character?

    by | 0 | Aug 4, 2016
    rump-Pence Clown Car 2016 by DonkeyHotey

    I’ve always been politically liberal, because – like my parents, who came of age during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt – I believe that government has a vital role to play in making our society what it should be. But at the same time, I’ve always had respect for conservatives because I believed them to be the people who put an appropriate emphasis on “character” and – again, like my parents – I believe the character of a person is what matters most.

     

     

    no free pass allowed

    Challenging the Republicans, Part 1: Repudiating Trump

    by | 0 | Aug 3, 2016
    President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House

    Yesterday, President Obama said this:

    “I think what’s been interesting is the repeated denunciations of his statements by leading Republicans,” he said in a press conference. “The question I think they have to ask themselves is, if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him? What does this say about your party …

     

     

    josefine klougart

    One of Us Is Sleeping

    by | 0 | Aug 2, 2016
    One of Us Is Sleeping by Josefine Klougart

    The biggest problem with Josefine Klougart’s One of Us Is Sleeping is that the one asleep is probably the reader.

    Even a stream of consciousness novel, which is what this is supposed to be, is supposed to go somewhere – and leave the reader with the impression that he has been there and that the journey, however long, was worthwhile.

     

     

    honor

    Sac-ri-fice (verb)

    by | 0 | Aug 2, 2016
    U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan (US Army Photo courtesy Khizr Khan)

    Khizr Kahn, Muslim father of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan who died fighting in Iraq, saw his son’s sacrifice, as well as his family’s, in the first definition of the word sacrifice:

    1. To give up somebody or something valued in exchange for somebody or something else that is considered more important or valuable.*

     

     

    ile de ré

    Guantanamo a la France

    by | 1 | Aug 1, 2016
    Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

    Remember when we associated France with popular rebellion against tyranny and individual liberty? The French Revolution, the Paris Commune, the French Resistance and May 1968 provided ideas and imagery for innumerable liberation movements around the world.

    To the dismay of many Francophiles, of late liberal democracy in L’Hexagone has gone pear shaped in response to Islamist terrorism. Surveillance was ramped up and the number of prosecutions for hate speech multiplied after the January 7, 2015 Charlie Hebdo mass killing…

     

     

    our collective narcissism

    I Wish “We’re the Greatest!” Weren’t Such Good Politics

    by | 3 | Jul 31, 2016
    screen shot - 2016 DNC - Hillary Clinton - Tim Kaine - red white blue

    Let me first try to make sure I’m not misunderstood. I am not saying that I wish the Democrats had done anything different at the convention. As many observed, the Democrats were smart to occupy the upbeat, patriotic, American-exceptionalist, morning-in-America space that Trump’s GOP abandoned with its fear-mongering dark picture of the state of the nation. Those chants of “U.S.A! U.S.A.!” may help some Republicans and Independents, unhappy with Trump…

     

     

    line that floored me

    Lumping Donald Trump with America’s Mortal Enemies

    by | 1 | Jul 28, 2016
    President Obama addressing the 2016 Democratic National Convention

    It is not President Obama’s way to deliver a blow in the ring of the sort that puts an opponent down for the count. (“When they go low, we go high.”) But last night he said something – delivering so unexpectedly powerful a blow – that made me leap from my seat.

    I’ve seen several mentions of Obama’s having referred to Trump (without naming him) as a “homegrown demagogue.” But if anyone has taken notice of what a devastating and powerful attack that phrase was in its context, I haven’t seen it.

     

     

    not so great

    It’s Always Sunny in America

    by | 6 | Jul 27, 2016
    Donald Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey

    Today, in his third act as President, (the first two are too embarrassing to mention) Donald Trump ended the treaty with the SunGod. He felt that others were not contributing their fair share of sacrifices to the SunGod. At today’s press conference, which was held in the complete dark due to the lack of a sun, Donald stated “America is for chumps if we are going to pay too much for sunlight! I’m not going to sacrifice one more smoking hot virgin that I could use in the Miss America pageant to some SunGod who isn’t an American…

     

     

    threat to our democracy

    Something Wicked This Way Comes

    by | 3 | Jul 22, 2016
    Something Wicked This Way Comes

    For millions of Americans watching the 2016 Republican Party Convention in Cleveland, disbelief and dismay have given way to bemused contempt. They see a GOP in a state of extraordinary disarray and unable to prevent a likely electoral train wreck. Many of its heavy weights simply refused to attend, including two former presidents, six governors, and 21 U.S. Senators. David and Charles Koch are notably absent.

     

     

    minor celebrities matter

    Zoolander Defense

    by | 0 | Jul 19, 2016
    Martian Girl from Mars Attacks!

    The first night of Donald Trump’s 2016 (Republican Party) Presidential Nominating Convention in Cleveland, Ohio provided more entertainment value than any in living memory. One after another former celebrities, practiced victims and assorted public figures took the stage to throw rhetorical raw meat at a seething pale audience.

    Among the highlights were appearances by Marcus Luttrell and Scott Baio. Luttrell because he seemed to call for a civil war here in the United States when he asked, “Who among you are gonna step up and take the fight to the enemy? Because it’s here.”

     

     

    requires frightened people

    Dropping the ‘F word’

    by | 1 | Jul 18, 2016
    Dropping the 'F word'

    In what might be the smartest appeal so far in this otherwise dismal presidential election, Hillary Clinton did NOT call Donald Trump a fascist during her July 13th speech on unity in Springfield, Illinois. Instead she warned about what he might do once in power. Declining to use the “F word” might seem pusillanimous, the sort of rhetorical restraint that conservatives pounce on, but using it could actually blur what is more important point.

     

     

    attention must be paid

    Blue-Collar Blues

    by | 0 | Jul 12, 2016
    Hard Hat Riot (May 8, 1970 in New York City) via Wikimedia Commons

    This election cycle is looking like a slow motion tragedy for millions of mostly white, middle age blue-collar workers with only a high school education who’ve been marginalized by deindustrialization. This is roughly the population whose rising death rate was uncovered by Princeton University economists Angus Deaton and Annie Case. As reported by the New York Times last November, they found that “The mortality rate for whites 45 to 54 years old with no more than a high school education increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014.”

     

     

    do your job

    Dear Congressman Goodlatte

    by | 1 | Jul 12, 2016
    U.S. Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

    If there’s one thing people can count on you for, it’s that you will put your party’s interests ahead of the good of the nation. Fortunately, there’s something you can do now to redeem yourself. It won’t be with your second-guessing FBI Director James Comey, who determined that Hillary Clinton’s email fiasco doesn’t warrant bringing charges.

    You probably knew there would be no indictment, since most legal authorities had reached that same conclusion. And surely you know that Mr. Comey — appointee of George W. Bush, and contributor to the presidential campaigns of McCain and Romney – has no partisan motive to help the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

     

     

    recipe for injustice

    The “Right-to-Work” Con

    by | 5 | Jul 11, 2016
    Gateway to the South

    When I was involved in electoral politics here in Virginia, I was advised by Democratic politicians to stay away from the issue of “right-to-work” laws. Most Virginians favor those laws, I was told. They think that “right-to-work” is a matter of “liberty,” and no one running for office can succeed in explaining to them what these laws are really about.

    If that’s wise counsel, it’s a sad commentary on our politics — for it’s doubtful that most of the Virginians who support right-to-work understand how these laws take money out of their pockets.

     

     

    rise above our fears

    Hey Y’all, E Pluribus Unum

    by | 1 | Jul 8, 2016
    Hey Y’all, E Pluribus Unum

    E Pluribus Unum or out of many, one. This 13 letter phrase became an official part of the Seal of the Unites States by an Act of Congress in 1782. It was the de facto motto of the United States until Congress officially made In God We Trust the national motto in 1956.

    But beyond being simply our unofficial motto, since even before 1782, E Pluribus Unum embodied the very spirit of us as a new country. This simple but profound idea is that we are all many – many different people of different origins, different histories, different religions, different colors, and different races – but all one, the People of the United States.

     

     

    risks being understood

    Matt Hamilton: Been there, done that

    by | 0 | Jul 8, 2016
    Cover photo of the book, "The Land of the Four Rivers" by Matthew A. Hamilton

    Matt Hamilton has packed more life into his 41 years than most of us could in twice that.

    Of the many roads he has traveled – soldier, congressional aide, Benedictine monk, Peace Corps – one he likes best is the road that brought him to North Litchfield, S.C., where he vacationed last week and sat down in a Litchfield coffee shop long enough to be interviewed.

    “My whole family has vacationed here for years,” he said. “We love it. The younger ones can go north to Myrtle, and the rest of us have Litchfield, Pawleys and Georgetown.”

     

     

    lebensunwertes leben

    Worst Senior Discount Ever

    by | 0 | Jul 7, 2016
    People waiting in line to vote

    BREXIT has elicited expressions of wounded outrage from European intellectuals emotionally invested in the current European Project. Some have contented themselves with name-calling by denouncing British voters as shortsighted bigots manipulated by conservative populists. Disappointment in the outcome of the referendum was so great for others that they have begun asking whether democracy itself might be the problem. If people, the British to be precise, are unable to see what is in their own best interests then perhaps …

     

     

    embrace equality ideal

    Yet another fiery trial, Father Abraham; weigh in

    by | 1 | Jul 5, 2016
    An iconic photograph of a bearded Abraham Lincoln, taken on November 8, 1863, eleven days before his famed Gettysburg Address

    Abraham Lincoln, were he alive today, would quibble with only one word in the trumpeted slogan, “Make America Great Again,” but it would be a vehement, demagoguery-shattering quibble. He would insist that the sentence be ended after Great. America has, he would solemnly remind us, in practice NEVER been great, only struggling slowly and painfully toward greatness.

    In theory, of course, it was another matter. He famously paid homage to “the last best hope of earth” that the truly radical American experiment in democracy …

     

     

    until the struggle is won

    The Fight Against Fear Continues in Mississippi

    by | 1 | Jul 4, 2016
    The Fight Against Fear Continues in Mississippi

    Fear is a powerful weapon. For centuries, threatening people’s lives and livelihoods has proved an effective means of suppressing protest and maintaining injustice. Fifty years ago this month, James Meredith’s March Against Fear sent a ringing message to oppressors everywhere: their tactics would not work! As mentioned in my earlier article, last weekend, a viciously anti-union company, Nissan Canton, whose workers call it an “architect of fear,” tried to appropriate the anniversary of Meredith’s march to suit their own purposes. Their financial sponsorship of this commemoration was clearly an effort to sever the civil rights movement from the battles of labor …

     

     

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