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Monday, August 29, 2016
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    part two

    Down In Camellia Land

    by | Apr 11, 2016
    Down In Camellia Land

    Part One left us in the Edgefield General Store, a place with something for everyone, an old fashioned soda fountain, gourmet items, and the talented services of Maine the florist. It was there, near the front door, where two fellows out of Barnwell ambled in claiming they had found a pot made by Dave the Slave. Nancy Gilliam referred them to Old Edgefield Pottery around the corner. Off they went, would-be art peddlers, seeking fame and fortune.

     

     

    governing by fiat

    Should President Obama appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if the Senate does nothing?

    by | Apr 11, 2016
    Scales of Justice by DonkeyHotey

    An op/ed column in Saturday’s Washington Post, by an attorney named, proposes a most interesting idea. The essence of the idea is suggested by the title, “Obama can appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if the Senate does nothing.”

    The essence of the argument is contained in this passage:

    It is altogether proper to view a decision by the Senate not to act as a waiver of its right to provide advice and consent…

     

     

     

    masters week

    Augusta

    by | Apr 8, 2016
    Rory McIlroy walks up to No. 15 green during Thursday's first round of the 2016 Masters. CHRIS TROTMAN/AUGUSTA NATIONAL

    Though I am a native of South Carolina (Aiken), I grew up in Augusta, Ga., and I think of it as my hometown. I haven’t lived there in years, and even if I wanted to move back there, I know that you can’t go home again.

    That is particularly true in my case, but, no, it’s not because the Statute of Limitations has yet to run out on the antics of my misspent youth. In fact, I was nearly an altar boy. (May it please the court: let the record show that I said “nearly.”)

     

     

    fear and panic

    The Summer of ‘52

    by | Apr 6, 2016
    Hospital respiratory ward in Los Angeles, 1952. Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    America was waging a war, a war within a war, a war against fear. As the panic from the big war gradually subsided, another enemy attacked our country from within. By 1950, every town in America was affected. No one could guess who would be the next victim as the number of casualties climbed steadily every year. Signs went up on houses – Quarantined – Do Not Enter – Polio.

    By 1952, most kids in America thought we had polio – every time we had a headache, sore neck, aching back, or growing pains in our legs. The whole country was terrified – especially during the summer months as new cases of polio increased rapidly.

     

     

    part one

    Down In Camellia Land

    by | Apr 6, 2016
    Down In Camellia Land

    I’m making my way to Edgefield to attend Edgefield Camellia Club’s annual Camellia Tea. As soon as I take Exit 18 onto Highway 19, everything changes. I-20’s bland corridor of cars, trucks, and tedium gives way to thick, green cedar groves, sprawling pine-edged fields, stately avenues of oaks, an abandoned home or two, historic plantations, horses, and a curious collection of what appears to be forsaken 18-wheelers in a powerline right-of-way.

    My goal is a leisurely one. Saunter around Edgefield a bit and take photos and make mental notes…

     

     

    what would roger do?

    The Holy Bible becomes Tennessee’s official state book

    by | Apr 6, 2016
    The Holy Bible becomes Tennessee's official state book

    On Monday, April 4, the Tennessee legislature approved a bill making the Holy Bible the official state book of Tennessee. At least two other states (Louisiana and Mississippi) had talked about it, but Tennessee was the first to actually approve such a measure. The bill now goes to Governor Bill Haslam, who has questioned its constitutionality but still might sign it into law. If that happens, the Bible will join the Channel Catfish, the Eastern Red Cedar, and the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly as an official state symbol of Tennessee.

     

     

    southern cool

    Seersucker

    by | Apr 4, 2016
    Seersucker suit and a straw hat

    It’s so damn hot, I can’t stand it. My fine seersucker suit is all soaking wet. —The Devil, Don Henley’s “The Garden of Allah.”

    Back on January 23 at 11:00 a.m. snowflakes fluttered from a cold, sunny sky. The startling blend of blue and white brought a Southern legend to mind. How nice it’d be to don a puckered, blue-and-white cotton suit and sashay out into a steaming Dog Day afternoon. Times were a Southern gentleman worth his salt would not be without a seersucker suit. Drifts of dust pile up from years worn and gone and the Grim Reaper’s relentless harvest takes its toll…

     

     

    something to fret about

    Idle Thoughts

    by | Apr 4, 2016
    First spring flowers background, yellow crocuses on snow, copy space

    Even though I’m not much of a gardener, in March and April I used to worry about things like when I should plant my veggies. I always let the spring flower bulbs fend for themselves. Vegetables were different. Building on that thought, this year things are quite a bit different.

    Today, it seems like I worry about everything in terms of the weather: shopping traveling, appointments — you name it. It’s now well into April and I’m still thinking about the “S” word — “snow.” How much snow will the next storm bring?

     

     

    april 16-17

    Bear Redux 20

    by | Apr 4, 2016
    The bear cub that started it all back in 1986 hiding in tree on Dahlonega's town square

    There are many reasons for people to decide to have a party, and such a reason occurred back in 1996 when a mama bear and her two cubs made their way out of the wild and onto Dahlonega’s Historic Town Square.

    A large crowd gathered, some of them actually following the bears to the square in the Northeast Georgia town.The mama bear and one cub escaped to another part of town, where they were later captured by forest rangers and returned to the wild, but one bear cub climbed a sycamore tree on the square and remained there for several hours as rangers and other locals tried to coax it back down to the ground…

     

     

    breaking news

    Whew! Thank Goodness

    by | Apr 1, 2016
    Breaking News Screen shot

    Several shootings lately. Today it’s in Virginia at a Richmond Greyhound Bus Terminal.

    Fortunately, no need to panic. As quick as you can scream “Active shooter, shelter in place!” the news stations pounced, emphatically stating “this is not terrorism!”

    Whew, for a minute I thought this was something serious.

    The local news and CBS categorically stated “There is no link to terrorism that we know of….

     

     

    remembering it is over

    Happy Confederate History and Heritage Month

    by | Apr 1, 2016
    Confederate Memorial Day by Dorret via flickr

    Governor Phil Bryant caused something of a stir in February when he signed a proclamation declaring April to be “Confederate Heritage Month” in Mississippi.

    Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal made no such proclamation, but he didn’t need to. The Georgia General Assembly already took care of this back in 2009, when it legislated that “the month of April of each year is hereby designated as Confederate History and Heritage Month and shall be set aside to honor, observe, and celebrate the Confederate States of America…

     

     

    nothing stuck

    Trump reminds us of Italy’s Berlusconi, when he was prime minister

    by | Mar 27, 2016
    Berlusconi drinking and laughing with Trump (composite image)

    While Americans are somewhat thunderstruck by an independently wealthy person, like Donald Trump jumping headlong into the presidential race, and gaining traction, it’s happened in other places in the world.

    One recent ego-centered and financially independent figure on the world scene to seek political power was mightily successful. We refer to former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, who led Italy for nine years through four cabinets, often embarrassing that country with his escapades and outright peccadilloes, and was eventually forced to resign.

     

     

    make america great again

    Machen America Wieder Groß

    by | Mar 24, 2016
    not actually a photo of Donald Trump receiving an ovation at the Reichstag after announcing a successful Anschluss march

    Exasperated that its latest stratagem to derail the candidacy of Donald Trump – getting Jeb Bush to endorse Ted Cruz – has failed, mainly because Cruz is even more repugnant to most Republicans than the bellicose billionaire, the GOP is shifting its battle plan to subtle understatement.

    It’s going to distribute Trump campaign caps, “Make America Great Again,” translated into German (“Machen America Wieder Groß”) free to supporters to wear to campaign rallies in remaining primary states, hoping they get the hint.

    A GOP source admitted subtle is risky with Republicans.

     

     

    dog-whistle racism

    From the Party of Abe to the Party of Donald

    by | Mar 24, 2016
    Trump in the lap of Lincoln

    There’s poetic justice in Trump’s rise to the top of the GOP presidential field. The GOP is reaping precisely what it has sown.

    One might indulge in Schadenfreude if the stakes weren’t so high. America teeters on the brink of fascism, and no one can confidently predict which way the chips will fall.

    Trump has essentially effected a “hostile takeover” of the Grand Old Party. How the GOP enabled Trump is the subject of Time‘s March 21 feature story “The Party’s Over.” The article – by Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center – is surprisingly candid…

     

     

    the ncaa sham

    So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You

    by | Mar 24, 2016
    So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You

    Just in case you missed this, Ben Simmons has decided to forego the balance of his college experience and declare himself for the NBA draft.

    This is a shock on par with hearing Donald Trump insult someone.

    Simmons is another of the famous one and done, athletes who accept a college basketball scholarship with no intention of staying more than a year before leaving for the pros.

     

     

    public underrepresented

    Budgets Three, Which One for Thee?

    by | Mar 23, 2016
    Half Ain't Enough by Tom Ferguson

    There are three budget proposals up for a vote soon, the President’s, the House of Representative’s and the Progressive Caucus’. The Progressive proposal is aligned with what polls say the general public wants so naturally this one doesn’t have a chance. The other two go to different lengths to cut services for the general public and increase breaks for the wealthy, corporations and spending for the military. The fiscal year for this budget kicks off October 1.

     

     

    credit where credit is due

    Oh, now I get it

    by | Mar 20, 2016
    Oh, now I get it

    Of course. Why didn’t I see this before? It’s as plain as the nose on your face and becoming clearer every day.

    Didn’t we all smirk when ‘the Donald’ stated that he’d get Mexico to pay for the wall to keep their people from crossing into our country illegally?

    When the President of Mexico replied with a firm, “Huh-uh, not on your life,” we agreed, declaring, “And you shouldn’t”!

     

     

    guns on campus

    Georgia’s “Campus Carry” Scam

    by | Mar 20, 2016
    Georgia's "Campus Carry" Scam

    According to recent reports, members of the Georgia General Assembly are scrambling to respond to Governor Deal’s reservations about HB 859, the “campus carry” bill, now on his desk. The bill permits students at least 21 years old with concealed weapons permits to possess firearms anywhere on the state’s public college campuses except residence halls, fraternities, sororities, and athletic events.

    It’s no wonder legislators are confused. A couple of weeks ago, Governor Deal airily dismissed arguments against the legislation as “lacking validity.” In recent days, however, he’s become persuaded that the bill has to be substantially revised…

     

     

    killing of jimmy dixon

    The Long Way Home

    by | Mar 20, 2016
    The Long Way Home

    “First, about the sharecropper,” he had begun “The only few years for which I can say much about it was in the 1940s. It was a tough life at our house. A world of make-do, hand-me-downs, and home-made clothing mom put together on a foot-powered sewing machine. A Mason Rotary that her mom — my grandmother — had owned before she died, when mom was just sixteen.

    “Our two mules, Doll and Kate, were coarse and creative, and always unrepentant bullies. And the equipment — plows and cultivators, among other things — were worn-out and unreliable. Then there was the weather…

     

     

    jury of peers to decide

    Soon Hogan vs. Gawker Will be the Jury’s Problem – Not Ours

    by | Mar 18, 2016
    Hulk Hogan v. Gawker

    St. Petersburg – The $100 million Hulk Hogan sex video case, upon which all freedom of speech in the Internet Age is said to hang, appeared to take a sudden turn Thursday morning in the direction of making all celebrity sex videos fair game for the worldwide web.

    An appeals court ruled that FBI files had to be unsealed and made public and these files were rumored to be so devastating they would destroy Hogan’s case against the gossip site he is suing, Gawker, for posting a video in 2012 of him having sex with the wife of his best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge.

     

     

    reality came charging

    Six-Part Harmony

    by | Mar 17, 2016
    Main Street at night, Moultrie, Ga

    Jesse and Peetsy had seen them a few weeks before, on a Sunday, in front of the town’s only theater. They had walked by while the boys were checking out the posters in front. It was always closed on Sunday; the preachers had seen to it. The whole town seemed desolate. No one else was even walking around in the two blocks that shared the traffic light. No cars were parked on the streets and only an accidental one would pass through…

     

     

    supreme court nomination

    “Merrick Garland, What’s the Point?” Here’s the Point

    by | Mar 17, 2016
    Chief Judge Merrick Garland

    I just got an email from Marc Ash, editor of the progressive news site, Reader Supported News. The title gives a clue about how exasperated Ash is at President Obama’s pick for his Supreme Court nominee.

    In the piece, he describes how Garland was someone that Senator Orrin Hatch, conservative from Utah, had suggested would be a good pick. And then Ash writes: “Battle? Ideological confrontation? Reshaping of the Court? Forget it – Garland is a safe pick for America’s ruling class. Obama punted. Hatch defeated him without a fight.”

     

     

    trump theater

    Violence Against Protesters at the Heart of Trump Theater

    by | Mar 14, 2016
    Violence Against Protesters at the Heart of Trump Theater

    Donald Trump has been called a “buffoon.” That’s a mistake. “Buffoon” implies foolish, stupid. But Donald Trump possesses a kind of genius: He’s a genius at getting attention for himself.

    One might say that the quest for attention – more than “making deals” — has been the driving force in Trump’s life. And for decades, he has succeeded in getting considerable public attention. But it is only in recent months that he’s demonstrated how extraordinary is his ability to seize – and hold – the spotlight.

     

     

    my big chance

    In Search of Liberace

    by | Mar 11, 2016
    Liberace at his crystal piano with the candlelabra

    One day when I was six years old, a huge truck pulled up in our driveway, and two men struggled to get something really big out of it. They dragged it up our front steps into the living room–a beautiful, brand new upright grand piano. The wood was shiny and the ivory keys looked like they had been polished. I immediately sat down and begin to play as if I knew what I was doing, which I did not. My mother quickly bought several beginning books and taught me a few simple songs.

     

     

    last white man standing

    Could 2016 be the year for the death of the Republican Party?

    by | Mar 9, 2016
    Could 2016 be the year for the death of the Republican Party?

    This year you may be seeing right before your eyes the death of the Republican Party in national politics.  If it happens, we lament it. (We feel that our country benefits by have a strong two party system.) It appears that the GOP could find itself threatened in this crazy political year. Here’s how this might turn out, outlined in a shortened step-by-step process.

     

     

    or i scream

    Ice Cream Summer

    by | Mar 9, 2016
    Good Humor Man

    It’s not quite springtime yet, but this unusually warm winter appears to have begun transitioning into an early spring. Tree buds are popping out throughout town, and the weather is turning downright balmy. With that warmer weather come thoughts of our favorite cold, creamy concoction: ice cream. And thoughts of ice cream – a food product with which I have the love/hate relationship of the Perpetually On Guard Against Chubbiness – always remind me of a summer long ago.

     

     

    like no one else

    Celebrating, honoring Pat Conroy’s gifts

    by | Mar 8, 2016
    Pat Conroy

    Writer Pat Conroy, who died Friday night, had a way with words that can only be described as an incredible gift. Perhaps no one more aptly painted word pictures of love, loss, beauty, yearning, pain, grief and aspiration.

    Whether fiction or memoir, Conroy could tell a story like no one else. Just read his ebullient description of the inimitable author and chef Nathalie Dupree, the subject of the first chapter of his cookbook, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life: “Nathalie’s voice is deep and musical and seductive…

     

     

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