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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Southern Weather Radar


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    Cochran's Mississippi Victory

    Part 1: Fresh Evidence of Tea Party Unhingedness

    by | Jun 27, 2014
    Part 1: Fresh Evidence of Tea Party Unhingedness

    We often hear about the disconnect from reality on the right. Paul Krugman keeps exclaiming about the way his peers as professional economists, who are on the right, continue to generate zombie ideas (disproved but never die) and refuse to recognize when they’ve been proven wrong– contrary to every value of intellectual integrity that Krugman holds dear.

    Here at Blue Virginia, Lowell Feld tells us, again and again between parentheses in the morning news report, how bat**** crazy so much of what we see on the right (think E.W. Jackson) is.

     

     

    faustian bargain

    No Matter the Party Name, Everyone is Drinking Whiskey

    by | Jun 26, 2014
    No Matter the Party Name, Everyone is Drinking Whiskey

    Something very interesting and, perhaps, very important happened in Mississippi last Tuesday. By now, everyone reading this knows that US Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi pulled out a remarkable victory in the Mississippi Republican primary for the Senate. He did so by increasing the number of black votes he received between the initial primary two weeks ago and the run off by something over 13,000 votes. 

     

     

    the choice is ours

    Soft Landing or Crash and Burn?

    by | Jun 25, 2014
    Soft Landing or Crash and Burn?

    Not until 1804 did the Earth’s human population first exceed one billion. Between 1804 and 2014, a 210-year period spanning just three consecutive human lifetimes, population skyrocketed: to 2 billion in 1927, 4 billion in 1974, and 7 billion at the end of 2011. What spurred such explosive growth?

    It’s not accidental that the Homo sapiens explosion coincided with the advent of the Industrial Age…

     

     

    on books

    Stephen Colbert vs. the Internet

    by | Jun 25, 2014
    Stephen Colbert vs. the Internet

    It is so strange that Amazon would institute a policy that fixes something no one thinks is a problem in order to placate 400 established authors trying to limit the market opportunities of other authors. In this case, Amazon is unilaterally deleting reviews people post regarding books being sold by Amazon.

    This makes no sense as Amazon’s reason for being is to sell stuff, in this case books. Apparently, Amazon does not police for revenge reviews…

     

     

    our troubled world

    Something Wicked This Way Comes

    by | Jun 23, 2014
    Something Wicked This Way Comes

    I have just finished rereading Macbeth for the first time in many years. The actor Kenneth Branagh was on The Charlie Rose Show recently touting his production which is now playing in New York’s Park Avenue Armory. As we know, it’s a tale of ambition and treachery. But why read it again now in the throes of summer when we’re usually looking for “light reading suitable for the beach”?

     

     

    we need a new icon

    The Peace Symbol

    by | Jun 23, 2014
    The Peace Symbol

    When I think back to my years at the University of Georgia, three symbols come to mind. The university’s iconic arch, the Georgia “G,” and the peace symbol, adopted by hippies and Vietnam protesters. During my days at the University of Georgia, I’d see the peace symbol, the hippie sign, as some called it, all over Athens. People sprayed it on bridges and sidewalks, people wore it on T-shirts, and posters plastered it all over telephone poles. Yeah, give peace a chance.

     

     

    duck and cover

    If Something Happens…

    by | Jun 22, 2014
    If Something Happens...

    If there’s one thing that scares me to death, it’s death.

    There’s other stuff that terrifies me too, such as going to sleep and waking up as a giant insect, or waking up Republican, but the visit by the Grim Reaper has always been The Big Magilla. The straight up truth is I’m not exactly thrilled none of us is going to live forever.

     

     

    overwhelming consensus

    When Is the Science Settled?

    by | Jun 20, 2014
    When Is the Science Settled?

    “Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ [linking smoking with disease] that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy….” (Internal 1969 document of Brown & Williamson, a tobacco company, outlining their strategy to undermine medical science linking tobacco to cancer and heart disease)

    I belong to a progressive faith community that is deeply concerned about the state of the Earth…

     

     

    morphology

    Another Psychotic Grammar Lesson

    by | Jun 20, 2014
    Another Psychotic Grammar Lesson

    Hello and welcome back, class. Alas, our two-and-a-half year sabbatical has concluded, and it’s once again time to consider matters grammatical. What happened 2 ½ years ago? Well, in October, 2011, I taught my first grammar lesson here in the pages of Like The Dew; the responses were numerous, and a couple were onerous. (I’ll give you “that” instead of “which,” but I maintain that my use of “presently” instead of “currently” is acceptable. So there.)

     

     

    on the refrigerator

    An American Tradition

    by | Jun 20, 2014
    An American Tradition

    The inventors of the components that make a refrigerator didn’t mean to build a museum and art gallery, but they did. I bet you cover your refrigerator with photos, mementos, and a few magnets that include everything from pizza parlors to emergency numbers to call. By far, the most popular images, I’ll wager, are those of loved ones, in particular, grandkids, and for many, pets. Consider the refrigerator a photo album, Rolodex, museum, and gallery all rolled into one…

     

     

    back to wholeness

    Conspicuous Gallantry

    by | Jun 20, 2014
    Conspicuous Gallantry

    In Paul Fussell’s book on WWI, The Great War And Modern Memory, a deep sense of irony pervades. A scholar of eighteenth-century English literature, he was heavily influenced by the satiric writings of Jonathan Swift and Samuel Johnson. During WWII, he served as a second lieutenant in the 103d Infantry Division where he picked up his “dark, ironical, flip view of war.” In an article he wrote for the PBS program The War, A Ken Burns Film, he said: “The war made me a foot-soldier for the rest of my life and after any war foot-soldiers are touchy.”

     

     

    reading

    The Merch

    by | Jun 19, 2014
    The Merch by Jimmy Hager

    The Merch, the debut novel from Jimmy Hager, is a gritty, grimy and enthralling story of Charleston, SC in the early 1970s.

    Charleston is typically presented to the tourist as a museum piece instead of a real city. A place to come visit and see where something once happened, then go get a good meal in one of its many fine restaurants. If not presented as something that static, then it is a center of cultural refinement full of chamber music, highly choreographed dance, an annual opera debut, and other high culture events. In a more lively incarnation allowed it by the Chamber of Commerce…

     

     

    primal energy

    The Inheritors

    by | Jun 18, 2014
    The Inheritors

    This week my wife Jody and I went to closing on the 5-acre meadow and woods that abuts our property in the Potomac Highlands of eastern West Virginia where we live. For many years it’s been a plot of ground that my neighbor in the next development over has used as a buffer zone to protect his privacy. This arrangement was fine with me, since it served the same purpose for me.

     

     

    devil in the details

    Tenure: Education’s Friend or Foe?

    by | Jun 16, 2014
    Tenure: Education's Friend or Foe?

    Having just completed a three-part series titled “An Educator’s Lament” on the symptoms, causes and stakes of the demise of American education, I was planning to retire the keyboard for a few days. Then the news broke on Vergara v. California. Alas, I feel compelled to weigh in. Vergara v. California concerns teacher tenure — the granting of “permanent” teaching positions — in California’s system of K-12 public education. On June 10, 2014, California Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, who oppose California’s tenure statutes, and against the California Teachers Association, which favors them.

     

     

    inviting corruption

    Muffin Bribe

    by | Jun 16, 2014
    Muffin Bribe

    Is it possible for citizens to be bribed for their votes by a muffin and/or a couple of slices of pizza? I sure hope not. In my case, I was really put off by Comcast and “Ready for Hillary” getting access to New Hampshire Democrats at their state convention via an infusion of callories for breakfast and lunch. It’s hard to know what the party staff were thinking when they invited Comcast to make a fifteen minute presentation and the Hillary people comcast a full hour to flog her book. “Hard Choices” is a phrase no Democrat should use, since it inevitably means that someone other than the chooser is in for a tough time.

     

     

    waste

    Ever hear that admonishment for you to “clean your plate?”

    by | Jun 16, 2014
    Ever hear that admonishment for you to "clean your plate?"

    “Clean your plate!” Sound familiar?

    It was for me when growing up. Perhaps originally my folks wanted me, as a youth, to eat enough food to be healthy. Later on, when I started spooning my own portions, out came again the admonition when I slacked off: “Clean your plate!” Some of this may have reflected my parents experiencing the Great Depression.

     

     

    poetry

    An advance with a comma

    by | Jun 15, 2014
    Searching for poetry by Satish Krishnamurthy

    As the story goes, the author fainted when the publisher’s five-digit advance arrived in the mail. Of course, for most of us scribblers this never happens. But it is a sweet thought to think anyone could put such a value on our “work.”

    I read an article in The New York Times this morning (15 June) by William Logan, a professor of English at the University of Florida, who was promoting the need for poetry in our lives.

     

     

    suggested reading

    Willing to love your LGBTQ neighbor as you love yourself?

    by | Jun 14, 2014
    Playing By The Book by Chris Shirley

    Review of Playing By The Book by Chris Shirley. Magnus Books, Bronx, NY, 2014. 305 pages.

    If you are willing to love your lgbtq neighbor as you love yourself, Playing By The Book will assist you, not so much with argument as with passion. The novel immerses the reader into the passions of Jake Powell during the summer between his junior and senior year in high school in Tarsus, Alabama.

     

     

    educator's lament: part 3

    Stakes of Our Educational Demise

    by | Jun 13, 2014
    Stakes of Our Educational Demise

    You have to be confused before you can reach a new level of understanding anything.”D. Herschbach (Harvard University chemist and Nobel laureate)

    In the summer of 2007, I attended “Boot Camp for Profs” in Leadville, Colorado. For an entire week, a maverick team of educators from multiple disciplines — geology, chemistry, education, biology, and psychology among others — bombarded 30 college and university professors with the theory and practice of learning.

     

     

    who wrote that?

    Songwriters

    by | Jun 13, 2014
    Songwriters

    I’m convinced that songwriters are the Rodney Dangerfields of popular music. Name any popular hit song of the last 50 years and ask your friends who wrote it. The most likely response will be, “Duh?” Like Dangerfield, the late king of one-liners (“I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out”), songwriters get no respect.

    Why? Beats me. People just seem to pay no attention to who wrote something, no matter what it is.

     

     

    educator's lament: part 2

    Causes of Our Educational Demise

    by | Jun 10, 2014
    Causes of Our Educational Demise

    “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”Wm. Butler Yeats

    In the previous two posts — In Defense of Light and Magic and An Educator’s Lament: Part I — I argued that education is 1) the guardian of liberty, 2) the cornerstone of democracy, and 3) under siege in America. Today, we’ll delve into why. The primary culprits include neglect, austerity, anti-intellectual/anti-science attitudes, good intentions gone awry, and malevolence aforethought.

     

     

    states have choice

    Obama’s carbon emissions directive could become a master stroke

    by | Jun 9, 2014
    Obama's carbon emissions directive could become a master stroke

    The politics surrounding climate change is getting warmer.

    President Obama has caused quite a ripple in this arena with his proposals to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent. He has taken a back door step to remove this issue from the do-nothing Congress, and exercised his executive power under the Clean Air Act to move toward fewer carbon emissions.

     

     

    discerning preservation

    City Of Dust

    by | Jun 8, 2014
    City Of Dust

    “The lost and wondrous wreckage of America. The ceaseless road to nowhere. Yeah, that’s my home.”

    That’s how John Mulhouse introduces visitors to his blog, City Of Dust. His blog (A term I can never bring myself to like) documents in words and photographs places abandoned, crumbling, stuck in the middle of nowhere, and to be blunt places few people have the intellect to appreciate. His work resonated with me as it is much like what Robert Clark and I do.

     

     

    in the day

    Look out Lord, here comes Al Clayton

    by | Jun 7, 2014
    Look out Lord, here comes Al Clayton

    Every odyssey has to begin someplace, and in this case it was Washington D.C. on June 16, 1967 at a special hearing of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, the most prominent members of which were its chairman, Sen. Joseph S. Clark, and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

    I ‘d read a New York Times news story that this committee would be hearing from a team of doctors who had traveled though parts of Appalachia, Georgia, Alabama and, most notably, Mississippi, and returned to report on conditions in the South amounting to actual starvation.

     

     

    news dump

    Rayonier — Splitting the un-Real from the Real

    by | Jun 5, 2014
    Rayonier -- Splitting the un-Real from the Real

    Like an amoeba, Rayonier is splitting, but not in the interest of promoting organic existence. Rather, the real transformative and productive endeavors, which informed the operations of the original corporation to convert trees into paper and other useful products, is being left behind, as the new moniker, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Inc., is clearly designed to disguise, in the interest of promoting speculation in Real Estate development. I suppose we could say it’s a matter of separating the doers from the seers.

     

     

    scary 1950s stuff

    Quicksand, Hookman, & Man Eating Plants

    by | Jun 5, 2014
    Quicksand, Hookman, & Man Eating Plants

    Scary Stuff From the 1950s: I’ll take adventure in the wilderness over television shows any day. One great disappointment today is how little there is to watch on TV despite there being more channels than ever. Was just the opposite when I was a child of the 1950s. We had few channels but plenty good shows to watch and some shows scared us pretty good. Horror shows and science fiction series gave me a jolt. What kid of the 1950s doesn’t remember quicksand.

     

     

    the idea of memory

    Ulysses Comes Home

    by | Jun 5, 2014
    Ulysses Comes Home

    I want to tell you about Floyd, but I think I might be able to best do it by first contrasting him with Walt Whitman and then by comparing him with Jim Corder, a university scholar who gave us a new appreciation in the 1980s and 1990s of language and the power of rhetoric.

    In one of his own anonymous reviews of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman described himself as “one of the roughs” with a “face not refined or intellectual, but calm and wholesome — a face of an unaffected animal — a face that absorbs the sunshine and meets savage or gentleman on equal terms.”

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



  • Also on the Dew

    The Force Is Not With Us: We Identify with Our Fantasy Heroes — Why Don’t We Emulate Them?

    The Force Is Not With Us: We Identify with Our Fantasy Heroes -- Why Don't We Emulate Them?

    By: Andy Schmookler

    Summary: We all know how to respond to evil. Again and again, our popular stories and mythology take us vicariously and gratifyingly through the process -- e.g. in films like "Avatar," "Star Wars," "Lord of the Rings," where our heroes put themselves on the line to defeat an evil force in defense of sacred values. Why is it, then, that as we face that same essential situation in America's contemporary reality, we fail to respond as our heroes do? *******The the destructive force that has arisen on the right is only one side of America's present national crisis. The other  Read on →

    Yahrzeit—Remembering What We Have Lost

    Yahrzeit—Remembering What We Have Lost

    By: Andy Schmookler

    It is the morning of October 3rd. As I have for the past more than forty October 3rds, I take from the cupboard a special kind of candle and light it. As I do so, I think about my father. It was in the early morning hours of October 3, 1967, in a hospital in Minneapolis, that my father died. It was a great loss. He was not yet 49, I was 21, and his death came way too soon for me to be done needing him. The candle burning on my countertop is called a yahrzeit candle. (yahrzeit literally means “year-time.”) Bur  Read on →

    One Human Instinct – Always in Our Service

    One Human Instinct - Always in Our Service

    By: Will Nelson

    Some are born lucky. Others are born rich or marry into money. Still others create endless streams of opportunity. And perhaps when we can’t answer yes to the aforementioned, we can easily feel entitled. But in other ways, the playing field remains level. Certain attributes of the human condition we have control over, starting with the meaning we assign to the events of our life. And yes, positive events lead us to assign more pleasant meanings. There is enormous manipulation, pursued in the name of profit, to get us thinking about our bodies with a “cattle mentality.” Once we buy into what we “s  Read on →

    Beliefs that Make Liberal America Weak: Barriers to the Source of Moral and Spiritual Passions

    Beliefs that Make Liberal America Weak: Barriers to the Source of Moral and Spiritual Passions

    By: Andy Schmookler

    Summary: Why does that the line from Yeats apply to America in our times? "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are filled with a passionate intensity." One important reason is that the battle playing out in our politics is fundamentally a moral and spiritual battle, and while the right is connected to their moral and spiritual passions (even though that connection has been made on the basis of lies) Liberal America is not. Much of that disconnection in Liberal America is due misguided beliefs, including: 1) that "value" is not really real, and 2) that there is nothing in  Read on →