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Saturday, October 25, 2014
Southern Weather Radar


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    bad anglish

    You’re on the Air

    by | Jun 30, 2014
    Image: the photo of the woman with fingers in her ears was licensed by LikeTheDew.com - copyright: bruno135 / 123RF Stock Photo http://www.123rf.com/profile_bruno135

    How much more slovenly can broadcast speech become? I can’t be the only one who wonders, and I’m surprised at how often the slovenly speech comes from the lips of top-of-the-line communications professionals. Hardly a day goes by that some network news announcer somewhere doesn’t talk about “Present Obama.” He (or she) is referring to the “Present” of the United States, of course. And if I’ve heard “opportunies” once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.

     

     

    Cochran's Mississippi Victory

    Part 2: Fresh Evidence of Tea Party Unhingedness

    by | Jun 29, 2014
    Image: Used Tea Bags by © Marilyn Barbone licensed by LikeTheDew.com at fotolia.com

    Too aligned with the Democrats? In the Tea Partiers denunciations of the Republicans, in the aftermath of Cochran’s victory in Mississippi, it keeps coming out that they see the Republicans as altogether too much like the Democrats, and too much working with them. Unhinged! Here we have a Republican opposition in Congress that has made the president’s failure its top priority from Day One, trying to keep him from accomplishing anything– not even CARING what kind of outcome would be best for the nation.

     

     

    some choose to kill it

    Confessions: The Past Never Dies

    by | Jun 28, 2014
    Confessions: The Past Never Dies

    I see a lot of abandoned homes in the hinterlands. Way more than I should. Awnings fallen off. Gutters rotting. Roofs caving in. You can tell no one gives a damn about them. What, I wonder, condemned them to abandonment? Economics gone south? Bad family blood? No will? Foreclosures on places nobody wants? Not worth the money it’d take to bring them up to code?

     

     

    rearview mirror

    Almost Eternal

    by | Jun 28, 2014
    theres a dance in the old dame yet

    As I fast approach my Biblical threescore years and ten, I have no particularly sad feeling about entering my seventies or worrying about mortality. I certainly have much left undone and much to do, so I’m just planning on increasing my pace. After all, we’ll all be gone too soon, as Mehitabel the alley cat with a sense of adventure in her morals used to tell Archie the poet, now reincarnated as a cockroach who could only type in lower case, in the old Don Marquis stories…

     

     

    greed

    Sea Island Dune Abuse

    by | Jun 28, 2014
    Sea Island Dune Abuse

    It’s almost pathetic, the Sea Island Beach Club setting up a playground in the dunes along the lines of “if we build it, they will come.”

    Then along comes James Holland on one of his morning inspection flights, takes pictures and circles what he judges to be clearly illicit intrusions and impositions on the dynamic dunes.

    And Holland’s got the statutes to prove his point:

     

     

    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.

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



  • Also on the Dew

    The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

    The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

    By: Monica Smith

    How does that happen? Mostly, it's the result of a mixture of hubris and inadvertence. Humans, stuck on themselves, think they know it all. Others are convinced "all it takes is the idea" (the ExxonMobil slogan) and, as it was in the beginning, man says the word and nature is obedient. Fortunately, the age of electronics has made it possible to virtually eliminate inadvertence. We can look ahead and simulate what will happen, if we repeat the mistakes of the past. That's what James Holland is doing with the various projects at Cannon's Point in the marshes on the coast of  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 →

    Dispirited Liberal America

    Dispirited Liberal America

    By: Andy Schmookler

    Summary: In Liberal America these days, one encounters a good deal of hopelessness about the future of our country. Why the hopelessness? The difficult circumstances certainly play a part. But they are not answer enough. Hopelessness is also a sign of disconnection from the realm of the spirit. In that realm, there is no sense of “impossible.” And this disconnection from the spirit is also at the root of Liberal America’s weakness. This points to a cure for our hopelessness that also can strengthen us to fight and win this battle, however challenging it may be. *******In response to my piece, “Libe  Read on →

    A Guns and Butter Gambit

    A Guns and Butter Gambit

    By: Will Cantrell

    One wryly fascinating aspect of achieving "seniority" is that my senses have become more adept at finding free entertainment.  Locating alternative sources of amusement  has become almost a necessity these days.  Daytime television remains abominable, cable TV is objectionally priced (probably by those same pirates who sell inkjet print cartridges) and the ransom one has to give up for seats to  professional sporting events is unconscionable. Also, our local news daily, though not unreasonably priced is but a shell of its former self. It is no longer a joy to read. One amusing activity, I find, involves no equipment, no cover cha  Read on →