- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
exploiting moral passions
What’s better for democracy? Focusing on issues that divide us, and will likely always divide us, or focusing on values and goals that we share?
Anyone who believes that we’re better served by focusing on what we can accomplish together rather than on what makes us fight each other should be outraged at what the Republican Party does with the issue of abortion.
a bumper crop
Southerners, it is that time of year again: be on the lookout for friends and neighbors giving away bountiful supplies of beautiful, green zucchini. Watch for zucchini peeking out of slightly ripped plastic bags left swinging on door knobs or sitting innocently in church pews. But tread carefully: accepting zucchini from friends and strangers alike may mean more than one thinks.
My wife Jody just excitedly charged into my “command post” beaming with pride and waving two lovely yellow summer squash in my face. These beauties had volunteered in her compost pile that this time of year is a smoldering mound of leaf mould and “black gold” from our local farmer’s cow pasture. Summer may be hot and steamy, but what could be finer than picking your own lunch.
It seems donkey’s years since I’ve put finger to keyboard to contribute, and I don’t really know why. Like The Dew is always a great read and just as I’ve enjoyed contributing, I’ve enjoyed the many and varied passions of its contributors. But these past few months I seem to have been visited by that come-and-go ennui that seems from time to time to plague anyone involved in creative pursuits, but the packers have been and gone and with them the mood that has prevailed over the past few months.
Maybe it’s just that the idea of reconnecting America turns John Mica off. After all, the Cons have put much effort into isolating/segregating the population.
Perhaps it is just a coincidence that the trains from Miami to D.C. are not WiFi equipped.
For most of my life I remained woefully ignorant of Darwin. That changed in 2003 when I traveled to London with a group of academicians to study “British Science” in situ. Our guide — a chemistry prof contemplating retirement — wanted to hook a replacement to carry on his successful study-abroad course. It worked; he hooked two, myself included.
The group’s first stop: the National Portrait Gallery off Trafalgar square. There, scattered among centuries of British monarchs, we encountered towering figures of the scientific era.
work to be done
The running lights from the boats scattered across the lake looked like a lightning bug invasion. There were dueling fireworks shows; the official Lake Murray display from Bomb Island and the Dreher Island effort several miles to the West.
This was the celebration of our nation’s birthday, Columbia boat people style. Blessing the fleets, dinner at the sailing club, and watching the fireworks, or relaxing on a sandbar with a blonde and some Budweiser, take your pick.
There’s nothing wrong with idealism. Idealists are our dreamers, our visionaries, the ones who keep moving us on toward better things whether we want to go or not. These are the folks who create entire worlds in their heads, imagining how things ought to be in a perfect world while many of us can’t even acknowledge things could be different from how they are.
it changes you
“Nobody throws up the same way.” With this kind of humor from our instructors offered early on, I knew I was going to enjoy this week-long class for beginning potters taught by Ken and Melody Shipley.
As I’ve done for over a decade, I made my way in late June to Brasstown, North Carolina, in the far western reaches of the state and the home of the John C. Campbell Folk School. You can Google FolkSchool.org and read all about the school…
Today is the 49th anniversary of the televised signing of the Civil Rights Act at the White House.
Leading up to the signing was the case of Brown v. Board of Education which was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court found that racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional in 1954. In the ten years that followed the case came the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stunning “I have a dream” speech, symbolically delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1963.
The June 26, 2013 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the foreign language broadcast services funded by the United States government offered an imperfect example of Washington political elites successfully sidestepping the obvious. What most of the participants wanted to talk about was reorganizing entities like Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, possibly by turning them over the State Department; adding language broadcasts like Ibo and Sindhi…
A message to people who have bought the Republican line on climate change.
In medicine there’s a saying, “When you hear hoof beats, think of horses not zebras.” Whatever’s going on is far more likely to be the usual than the extraordinary. But when it comes to climate change, the Republicans are telling Americans not to think horses, or even zebras. They’re saying, think unicorns. Republicans want Americans to believe that the alarm about climate change is based on a scientific hoax.
That little flourish, “we preport, you decide,” with which FOX radio announcers conclude their segments is actually an accurate representation of their operation. It would also be applicable to FOX TV, which is really nothing but radio with pictures and a written scroll, just in case the talking heads get boring, but I don’t know that they use it.
“We report; you decide” fits perfectly with the binary model of the world in which instinct-driven people reside.
Lawyers gave opening statements yesterday in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin. After prosecutors characterized Zimmerman as a “grown man with a gun,” in contrast to the unarmed Martin, the defense issued what may be one of the weakest rebuttals in the history of high profile court cases:
“Trayvon Martin armed himself with a sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head.”
Care About What?
What should one make of the fact that some of the same Republican politicians who make a major issue out of “protecting the unborn” also are eager to cut the food stamp program (SNAP) that keeps millions of American children from going hungry?
If a person had it in his heart to care about unborn children, would one not expect that same heart to show compassion for the plight of children already born?
The war between the states, as some prefer to call the U.S. Civil War, is what first comes to mind when I encounter George Santayana’s quip, “Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.” This applies to war in general. When each new one comes along we seem to be unaware of the carnage involved and skip gaily into the glorious fray sending the professionals along with the young and naïve as cannon fodder – being too busy, as Dick Cheney said about his failure to serve in Vietnam, to actually attend ourselves.
A Hole in the Head - Part II
I mentioned last week that I was looking forward to brain surgery; not so much the surgery as the relief it was meant to bring to my trigeminal neuralgia. If you are at all interested you are bound to prefer experiencing this vicariously. The plan was to drill a hole 1 inch in diameter in the skull behind my ear and insert Teflon sponges between the nerve and the blood vessel in my brain that was pressing on it, to relieve the searing pain.
The Democratic Process
Those hosting last year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte filed a report with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for items missing or stolen during the week long convention totaling nearly half a million dollars, according to Steve Harrison in today’s Charlotte Observer:
“The Democratic National Convention Committee said it recently sent the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department a spreadsheet detailing $496,000 worth of missing equipment. CMPD created an incident report in May.
That is the 21st Century question. Whether agents of government are tasked with telling the public what to do or, as the United States Constitution suggests, are to limit themselves to prohibiting socially injurious behaviors by individuals and corporations.
Republicans, being descendants of royalists, whose model of social organization is the family with its paternalistic head of household, continue to hold fast to the belief that their fellow man needs to be strictly ruled. Because people doing their own thing make them feel really insecure.
Tell The Truth
There are many congressional districts where Democrats have nearly zero chance of winning anytime soon. The recent victory of the disgraced Mark Sanford in a South Carolina congressional race shows how safe a Republican seat can be.
The difficulty of winning these seats, paradoxically, presents an important opportunity for Democrats. In the short run, the political battle in America is over who will hold the offices where laws get made. In the long run…
Last Friday, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes had the job of announcing that the Obama administration had decided to officially begin arming the Sunni Islamist insurgents attempting to overthrow the Syrian government. All that lobbying by the war party in Washington and its ‘friends in the Gulf’ is finally paying off. You would think that the problem was explaining why to a skeptical news media. Not so.
What’s on your mind?
This time “What’s on your mind?” is not a fatuous question on Facebook, it’s a medical matter It started bugging me in April last year, and 14 months later it’s getting on my nerves. I need that like a hole in the head.
A gentle tickle in the face, not bad at all, escalated as the weeks went by. Why was I getting a sore sensation from the upper lip to the right temple?
Staying In Touch
My Aunt Naomi from the piedmont of South Carolina was visiting my mother in Southern Georgia. I wanted to see her, too, so I invited my parents and Aunt Naomi over for a cookout at my house. Aunt Naomi had been the victim of a stroke some years earlier and had some problems from time to time with speech, but hadn’t aged much, except for long gray hair that resembled Emmylou Harris.
There’s something about being a writer that leads people to confide in me. Think about that. Why tell a writer, a person who uses life itself as raw material, your deepest secrets. But tell me they do, and sometimes their secrets break my heart.
Through my writing and books, I meet a lot of people. Some become friends. I’ve come to know women who confided in me just how much they hated their father. They had reason. So they say. Several told me…
A friend sent me a video compilation of the 100 best movie insults. I enjoyed watching all of them but they all fell flat when compared to a few I have had the pleasure to hear personally. There are several types of insults, both intended and unintended. An insult can be delivered in anger, disguised in humor, masked as love and caring, or just thrown out like a fast ball. The preferred delivery is as personal as your fingerprints…
Culture of Fear
Tuesday morning, you may have heard, there was an explosion in a maintenance shed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport here in the Big Peach. It killed the power to Concourse D, so officials evacuated the folks there to Concourse E. When the power was restored, everybody went on their merry ways.
But lawdamursy, did Twitter ever light up.
Let’s think about PRISM. The problem isn’t that someone is going to be listening to your telephone conversations or looking at your telephone records. They may well do so, no matter what the President says. Indeed, they will be because that is the nature of human curiosity. However, that is not the problem.
The problem is the machine that is PRISM will be looking at every telephone call you make and every email address you send something to or receive something from.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Last week Americans saw heavy media coverage of the death 50 years ago of President John F. Kennedy. I couldn't help but compare the aftermath and funeral of JFK with that of Abraham Lincoln, both victims of assassins. One reason this came to mind is because I had just finished a year-long project -- reading Carl Sandburg's six volume biography of Lincoln. (Altogether, it was about 2,400 pages, and that in small type. I gave myself a year to read it, and as a reward, could read a shorter book when I finished each volume.) Sandburg's massive biography is a great read, Read on →
Fantastic Meals. Number 95 of the Top 100 (Mostly Southern) Meals and Side Dishes of all Time If you were to ask me if I considered myself a soup lover, I would tell you “No” without even thinking about it. Isn’t it strange how I can tell a lie so easily; how I can fool myself into thinking things about the way I act that have no bearing on reality? I mean—I must be the Grand Marshall of Liars, for why else would I tell people—those both close to me and strangers—that I detest soups, stews, and their ilk? All one has to do t Read on →
Nothing is as it seems in the land of the Cons. We've got to remember that. Sometimes it seems that, regardless of the issue, con men have to deceive, even if it means cutting off their own noses or, if they happen to be politicians, the noses of the constituents they expect to vote for them. If that makes no sense, it is still a fact in the twenty states where Governors, no doubt on the advice of their Representatives in Congress, are rejecting the extra dollars that would extend health care to people not earning enough to afford even subsidized Read on →
Pope Francis' recent encyclical is sending shock waves around the world. In addition to exhortations to the faithful, Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel") packs a scathing critique of "unbridled" capitalism and consumerism. Here's the flavor of the Pope's message: Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. A new Read on →