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Thursday, October 19, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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  • Writer Login


    aging

    Nothing’s Gonna Touch You in These Golden Years

    by | 0 | 3 hours ago
    lifecyle of a dandelion blossom

    My right eye is doing the heavy lifting; my left, just along for the ride for now.

    Six months ago, I had a detached and torn retina in my left eye. Thanks to micro- and laser-surgery techniques, they can fix that. Not that long ago, I would’ve lost the sight in the eye. The cause? Old age, my friend, old age. While detached and/or torn retinas can happen as the result of an injury, in folks my age, they’re caused by 1) a misshapen eye (mine are extremely myopic; I had worn glasses for distance since third grade until I had LASIK a decade ago) …

     

     

    painting barns

    See Rock City

    by | 0 | 6 hours ago
    See Rock City

    In my mom’s back yard stands a red and black birdhouse on a white pole. Its roof holds iconic words. “See Rock City.” If it had not been for Garnet Carter and Clark Byers, that birdhouse wouldn’t exist. Times were, you could drive along a back road and sooner or later you’d see a barn with its roof turned into an advertisement.

    You’ll be hard pressed today to find a barn’s roof declaring “See 7 States from Rock City.” In case you’ve never heard of it, Rock City is a roadside attraction in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Gigantic rock formations, a Lovers Leap, and caverns with black lights I recall. I remember, too, Ruby Falls but that’s an attraction inside Lookout Mountain.

     

     

    education by tv

    Irish Famine

    by | 0 | Oct 9, 2017
    Queen Victoria transforms to TV Queen Victoria

    Popular on British and American TV screens, the series ”Victoria” about the reign of Queen Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman, is a great way to become familiar with the history of England without reading books. Only a small percentage of the population reads history books, and even there, some issues are not fully covered. For many British viewers it was the first they had learned about the horrors of the 1840s Irish Famine… 

     

     

    protecting class privilege

    Vietnam in the Air

    by | 0 | Oct 4, 2017
    Vietnam in the Air

    Timely to have happened on the book, Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden, at the library just as the Ken Burns’ Vietnam: A Television History began on PBS. I was curious to see what perspective was brought to both the book and documentary. The factoid that especially interested me: Vietnam was one country, temporarily divided by the Geneva Accords …

     

     

    a deeper observation

    Taking A Knee for the National Anthem

    by | 2 | Oct 1, 2017
    Taking A Knee for the National Anthem

    It is obvious there is anger throughout the league from world renown athletes to the general managers of those professional teams. Professional athletes such as LeBron James, professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, have spoken out about racial injustices throughout our nation and have exemplified their frustration for our current president, Donald Trump. LeBron does not stand alone …

     

     

    faux patriotism

    Respecting the Constitution

    by | 5 | Sep 25, 2017
    Respecting the Constitution

    So let me get this straight; the primary way for Americans to properly respect our country, flag and all those soldiers who died for our right to say what we want, act the way we want, and worship in the manner we see fit is to attend a sporting event and reverently stand while an ode to a night of bombardment during a war we didn’t win, set to the tune of a British drinking song, is sung by some diva trying to sing it completely apart from what it was intended.

     

     

    southern queer vs. yankee cop

    A time to be silent or a time to speak?

    by | 0 | Sep 24, 2017
    Rainbow colored golden retriever

    I enjoy the diversity of the waiting room when I go for a routine checkup to my miracle worker, Dr. Lobiondo, Director of the Wound Center at Clara Maass Hospital in Newark, NJ. More than five years ago his rigorous routines completely cured a large open wound on my left leg, a result of lymphedema. For 2 years I had been sleeping in a chair with my legs elevated, but no noticeable improvement. Then I discovered Dr. Lobiondo…

     

     

    in the past

    A Sunday Drive

    by | 0 | Sep 22, 2017
    Noble SC Governors Grave

    Used to be customary for folks to take Sunday drives. I don’t think people today tend to do that as much as the older folks did but they should. It’s enjoyable and revealing. Of course we still use “Sunday driver” to describe a driver who dawdles, and dawdling is in order when the drive itself is the destination.

    Sunday, September 17 my sister, Deb and family friend Teresa took me to an old cemetery I’d never seen. Across the Savannah …

     

     

     

    just won't die

    The “Heritage, Not Hate” Dodge

    by | 0 | Sep 16, 2017
    zombie confederates

    Yet again, over 150 years after Appomattox, we’re still at one another’s throats about the meaning of the horrendous bloodletting that ended with a half-page of surrender terms and a handshake. The proximate trigger for the recent mayhem in Charlottesville was the city’s plan to remove a monument to Robert E. Lee. Now the air is thick with denunciations of similar monuments for valorizing traitors …

     

     

    getting to the whole truth

    The CIA’s Tortured Amnesia

    by | 1 | Sep 16, 2017
    CIA TORTURE REPORT by Paresh Nath

    It’s too bad the trial of two CIA contract psychologists who created the “torture” interrogation program in the wake of 9/11 was canceled and the case settled out of court. The trial, scheduled for September 5th, might have provided publicity that could help prevent future abuses in the name of national security. Such publicity could also call attention to the need for creating a stronger institutional memory …

     

     

    fantastic meal #90

    Blue-Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

    by | 0 | Sep 16, 2017
    Blue-Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

    We were not big potato eaters when I was growing up. My mom was a stay-at-home housewife and did most of the cooking, and baked or mashed potatoes weren’t high on her list of dinnertime sides. Rice and black-eyed peas, however, were. And as much as my dad loved black-eyed peas and rice, he did not fail to let us all know that he sure missed an occasional side of mashed potatoes, rolls, and gravy. I think the sore point here was the gravy, but it could have been the rolls.

     

     

    kegger stories

    Ground Ball Back To You, I Got The Throw

    by | 0 | Sep 16, 2017
    Pi Lambda Phi House at the University of Virginia

    “Jimmy Joe, ground ball back to you, I got the throw at second.”

    I joined a Greek fraternity at the University of Virginia in the fall of 1976. Like most large schools with dozens of different houses, an incoming freshman had a lot to choose from. There were old Southern houses that dated back to the Civil War. There were heavy drinking houses. Other houses preferred…

     

     

    hidden beauty

    The Long Way Home

    by | 1 | Sep 6, 2017
    A vintage rural scene come summer. A farmer’s crops and a dirt road just off Highway 34 between Silverstreet and Chappells. Blue, green, white and beige, the colors of the Earth.

    Labor Day I labored. I wrote the photo captions for my new book due out next spring about lesser-traveled road, a familiar refrain. By now you readers surely can tell what I’m working on by the columns I write. I’ve often written about my expeditions into the countryside. I drove over 10,000 miles deliberately avoiding interstates. I chose to take the long way home as Supertramp famously sang.

     

     

    values in caricature

    The Big Board Game, Capitalism

    by | 0 | Sep 5, 2017
    The Big Board Game, Capitalism

    In terms of articulating what’s going on, who runs things for whose benefit in the country, hell, the world, we are gifted with two stand-out analysts; Noam Chomsky and Michael Parenti. I’ve been reading Chomsky’s first book on the subject, American Power and the New Mandarins and an early book of Parenti’s, The Sword and the Dollar… 

     

     

    a sooty middle finger

    What the truck! Should monster pickups be outlawed?

    by | 2 | Aug 30, 2017
    Big red monster truck

    I was stopped for a red light while on my way to the grocery store when it pulled up in the lane next to me. I heard its rumble and felt its shadow fall like a partial eclipse before I actually saw it. When I glanced left from the window of my medium-sized sedan, I was eye level with its underbelly – the pristine wheel wells, the giant tires, the gleaming chassis, a concentration of chrome like a buck-toothed teenager’s orthodontics. The reflections of my car and the car just ahead of me in its side panels didn’t even reach as high as its door handles…

     

     

    climate change is real

    And now for the hard work

    by | 4 | Aug 29, 2017
    And now for the hard work

    Hurricane Harvey has brought death, unfathomable destruction, loss of homes and a deeply distraught community of caring people throughout the world.  How can we help? What do we do now?

    We will reach out, and offer whatever we can.  I particularly love the #cajunnavy and all the out-of-state volunteers from California and New York rushing to our side.

     

     

    fight them at every turn

    Understanding Racism

    by | 1 | Aug 29, 2017
    Trump Rally Asheville by Will Thomas

    I can’t really help myself. It just happens. Whenever I see images of Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, or reasonable facsimiles, I think of Groucho Marx. The comedian from my dad’s generation famously stated that he would never want to join an exclusive club that was willing to accept him as a member.

    While viewing photos from KKK members, Confederate sympathizers’ mug shots, or watching the footage from places like Charlottesville, I can’t help but think: This is supposed to be an example of a superior race? Really?

     

     

    staring at the sun

    Today we were animals

    by | 0 | Aug 22, 2017
    Preparing for the eclipse

    For one brief, shining moment, we gathered near strangers, didn’t fear for our lives, and watched the moon blot out the sun.  The moon & sun were gliding all over fly-by land, giving us a quick peek at our natural selves; amazed, amused and/or otherwise distracted from the chaos of our own creation. We thought about our place in the universe, among the other animals making noises and clustering together.

     

     

    context is not pc

    The Burden of Being a Southern, Part II

    by | 0 | Aug 16, 2017
    Sigbee drive cemetary

    Henry Kidd, who identified himself as a former national officer of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, objected to adding context. “Every tourist who comes to Richmond wants to see Monument Avenue; they don’t want to see a politically correct Monument Avenue,” Kidd said. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

    I will give Levar Stoney’s credit for appointing the Monument Avenue Commission to determine the fate of Lost Cause monuments …

     

     

    who will it be?

    The Honorable Senator from Alabama

    by | 0 | Aug 16, 2017
    Jeff Sessions, Roy Moore, Luther Strong

    The good folks in my home state of Alabama aren’t too sophisticated when it comes to voting excellent people into office. Consider that Jeff Sessions has been our senator for a long time, mostly running unopposed, or infrequently against some poor Democrat with no idea what he’s about to get involved in.

    Sessions perfected the religious fervor that doesn’t quite slip over into craziness …

     

     

    #charlottesville

    Playing With Fire

    by | 0 | Aug 14, 2017
    Charlottesville Unite The Right Rally photo taken by Rodney Dunning

    “Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done
    Walk away from trouble if you can
    It won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek
    I hope you’re old enough to understand
    Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man”

    As we read our Sunday newspapers or listen to the news, we hear the same story over and over again, the violence in Charlottesville Virginia.  I was afraid this was going to happen.

     

     

    fantastic meal #91

    Summertime Soup

    by | 0 | Aug 14, 2017
    Summertime Soup

    When August drifts around every year, there is little to celebrate here in the Deep South. It’s hot and humid one day, hotter and more humid the next. A day or so ago he humidity was at 99%. I thought we had to be under water to get a 99% reading. There is one good thing about August in the South, however, and that’s the proliferation of summer vegetables. Tomatoes, peppers, okra, squash, and cucumbers will grow like weeds if there’s enough rain…

     

     

    so easy to steal here

    New Wave Mobsters

    by | 0 | Aug 12, 2017
    Mafiya by © Tom Ferguson

    Mobsters tend to evolve out of inner city poverty. The young look around and notice the people in the neighborhood with flashy lifestyles, who don’t go hungry, who lord it over ordinary citizens. They resemble the intimidating bullies in their own circles who ham-fistedly appropriate their lunch money and humiliate them in other ways. The limited options visible on their horizon tempt the young and some inevitably are drawn into criminal apprenticeship.

     

     

    southern places

    A Country Club Like No Other

    by | 0 | Aug 11, 2017
    Harold's Signage -photo by Tom Poland

    Down near Yemassee, South Carolina, is a country club like no other. Harold’s Country Club proclaims that it is “in the middle of nowhere but close to everywhere.” That’s true. You’ll find it off Highway 21 at 97 Highway, 17A. I did when I pulled up in front of a faded sign that’s seen its share of Lowcountry sunlight. Nonetheless it’s colorful. A grill full of ribs, chicken, and a huge steak fill one side, a frosty mug of beer …

     

     

    fight like hell for the living

    100 Years Ago, Frank Little Died for Our Rights. Today, the Struggle Continues.

    by | 4 | Aug 1, 2017
    Jaz Brisack

    I stepped in an anthill at 4:17 yesterday morning, as I pounded a yellow “Union Yes” sign into the dewy ground outside the mile-long Nissan factory in Canton, Mississippi.

    Later in the day, on my way to visit workers and discuss the upcoming vote, I saw someone removing the signs along the highway exit ramp, as a MDOT truck blinked idly nearby. Looking closer, I noticed that the man yanking up our morning’s work was wearing striped trousers beneath his neon vest.

     

     

    more a direction

    Plumnelly: A Road Mark

    by | 0 | Jul 28, 2017
    Cheaha State Park by Andrea Wright

    On July 17, 1936, five months before I was born, an area of 393 acres of wilderness in Alabama’s Talladega County was established as a U.S. National Forest. One of its many glories is Cheaha Mountain, Alabama highest point, visible from our front porch. Dad and I camped out at many different spots in the park throughout most summers while I was growing up, and often we encountered no other human being.

     

     

    in the war on science

    Revenge of the Nerds

    by | 0 | Jul 27, 2017
    March for Science, Washington, DC by Becker1999 (Paul and Cathy)

    Earlier this month, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a damning report: Sidelining Science Since Day One—How the Trump Administration Has Harmed Public Health and Safety in Its First Six Months.

    The value of science to policy making has been recognized in the United States at least since 1863, when President Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War, signed into law a bill establishing the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), charging it with the task of “providing independent, objective advice…

     

     

    southern addiction

    Football Sex and Old Time Religion

    by | 2 | Jul 27, 2017
    Football Sex and Old Time Religion

    The recent stunning downfall of the Ole Miss football coach has all the elements of a Southern Gothic tale. I’m surprised this wasn’t based on a Faulkner novel. Hugh Freeze resigned abruptly after being caught with incriminating evidence of sexual hanky-panky. The story had all the true elements of a southern tragedy; sex, religion, and football. What better way to spend an Autumn Saturday afternoon.

     

     

    abstraction distraction

    In a Word, Authentic

    by | 2 | Jul 24, 2017
    Scar-Moochi (aka: Anthony Scaramucci) by © Trevor Irvin

    The word “authentic” is being tossed around a lot these days … another empty-calorie, tasteless ingredient in today’s word salad. The kale of the word world.

    The other day, a leaking pustule of a man, Anthony Scaramucci, took over the job of White House Communications Director from the former dripping abscess, Sean Spicer. During one of his attempts at deceiving the press and the public, Scaramucci, started rambling on about just how great Sarah Huckabee was, saying,

     

     

    people need to know

    Clinton Tried to Win Election

    by | 6 | Jul 17, 2017
    he Ties That Bind was created by © Trevor Irvin

    Breaking Newz: A quickly unfolding scandal has revealed that Hillary Clinton colluded with millions of democrats nationwide to vote against Donald Trump during the 2016 elections.

    In a statement today, Satan’s BedBug, Kellyanne Conway, said “We hope it is clear to America now how unfairly Donald Trump was treated. When Donald Trump ran for president, Hillary purposely tried to win. We see this as proof she colluded with American Democrats…

     

     

    it all comes down to this

    Goosing Adrenaline

    by | 4 | Jul 17, 2017
    Goosing Adrenaline

    I swear, I don’t know what gets into people.

    This latest head scratcher starts when the morning’s news feed flashes a headline about an American from Virginia Beach, Virginia who gets ‘run through’ – i.e.: seriously gored – by a bull last weekend as he ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

     

     

    shoe already dropped

    The Smoking Gun

    by | 2 | Jul 11, 2017
    The Smoking Gun

    For months, there has been smoke; thick, black smoke that cannot be seen through. It certainly seemed like the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, something seemed suspicious, but there was never any proof. But no smoking gun

    For weeks, there has been a very warm gun. Meetings between Flynn, Sessions, Page, Kushner, etc…with Russian officials that had conveniently been forgotten. But no smoking gun.

     

     

    we must dissent

    Salute This Flag

    by | 0 | Jul 9, 2017
    John Beecher in 1976 by © Rob Amberg for the Asheville arts monthly, “The Arts Journal”.

    Several friends found it difficult to celebrate the Fourth of July this year. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

    I strive not to let these forces win the biggest gift I could give them, namely to shut up and wait out their dominion. Instead, we must wrestle; we must dissent.

     

     

    100 million

    From Butter Churns To Baseball Bats

    by | 0 | Jul 9, 2017
    Louiville Slugger by Tom Poland

    She kept the old churn in the kitchen. I see it vividly, even now. I watched my Grandmother Poland churn butter, a memory that sure seems old-fashioned in this digital age. I have no idea who made that churn. It vanished with the years, nowhere to be found, but I can tell you this much: baseball bats and butter churns share a connection.

    For me, this story begins in Apex, North Carolina where I was visiting my daughter and her family the weekend of June 10. The occasion was my grandson’s graduation from high school…

     

     

    and then i knew

    Dancing with Wolves

    by | 2 | Jul 9, 2017
    Dancing with Wolves

    I worshipped the man.

    Like a puppy, I waited expectantly his daily homecoming, ever eager to ask a child’s question: “What kind of day did you have?” “Oh, I had a good day,” he might say. Other times his face and his words told a different story: “It was a rough day.” If it had been a “rough day,” sometimes I’d ask why, but he never divulged much.

     

     

    remembering

    The Boy Who Stoned Cats

    by | 2 | Jul 5, 2017
    The Boy Who Stoned Cats

    Late in the afternoon a strange noise came from the vegetable garden beside the house, it was the sound of a bird in distress. The bird was squeaking, flapping its injured wing and hopping frantically around to escape from two large black birds attacking it. The boy grabbed a straw broom and waved it at the black birds until they flew away.

    The little bird continued to squeak and hop around as the boy tried to catch it…

     

     

    throwback to another era

    The Old Hand Pump

    by | 2 | Jul 5, 2017
    76 station hand water pump by Tom Poland

    “The pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles,” wrote Bob Dylan as he closed out “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Vandals have yet to get the handle of the pump you see here, but I don’t know if it works. I didn’t try it. Wish I had. Let’s just say that it works and that’s why it didn’t end up in the scrap metal pile. Let’s add that if you work the handle enough, your reward will be gurgling, spurts of water.

     

     

    like before fox news

    Make America Great Again

    by | 1 | Jul 5, 2017
    Celebrate Freedom Rally

    Make America Great Again

    Make America great again[1]
    Make America great again[2]
    Lift the torch of freedom[3] all across the land[4]
    Step into the future joining hand in hand
    And make America great again…[5]

     

     

    even uncle sam has bad days

    Barbecue and Patriotism Both Have a Price

    by | 0 | Jul 3, 2017
    Barbecue and Patriotism Both Have a Price

    On the Fourth of July, we naturally think of Uncle Sam, our nation’s favorite icon. While I try to keep a positive attitude about Uncle Sam in July, I can’t forget the day the old man hurt my feelings in October.

    Let me explain: Back in the day, Fairfax (AL) Cotton Mill chartered a bus to take the mill-village Boy Scouts to the Southeastern Fair in Atlanta. As a proud member of Fairfax Troop 10, I was thrilled at the prospect of such a magical journey. Going to the Southeastern Fair was like a trip to Mars…

     

     

    self-indulgent con man

    The Trump We Know

    by | 0 | Jul 3, 2017
    Trump Adolf by Viengchanh

    Any additional reassurance that Donald Trump is not an American Adolf Hitler was provided by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) last Tuesday. That is the same North Korean government entity that previously announced that North Korea had invented not only the hamburger but also a drug that cures AIDS, Ebola and cancer. So if the KCNA likens POTUS 45 to Der Fuehrer, you know it is almost certainly untrue. What is interesting is that plenty of smart people outside the information bubble…

     

     

    bona fide bbq

    That Tantalizing Smoke

    by | 2 | Jul 3, 2017
    Seatman's BBQ

    A bona fide barbecue joint should be way out in the country. It’s best if it isn’t open seven days a week. People need to wait on it. They need to anticipate the approaching banquet. Moreover, a bona fide barbecue joint needs to sit where you can see the smoke rising off hog drippings and coals as red as magma. It needs to have ample parking because patrons will pilgrimage to their preferred porcine shrine as faithfully as the rising sun.

     

     

    may we be enlightened

    The Burden of Being a Southerner

    by | 2 | Jul 1, 2017
    “United Stereotypes of America” by Haley Nahman

    This is going to be a long and rather convoluted essay. I will be long, because as a Southerner and a quasi-historian I can’t do with one word what twenty would do; it will be convoluted as my feelings on the issue I am writing about are convoluted.

    While not a huge fan of William Faulkner, I have longed admired his ability to put the South and the past in perspective. So here is the obligatory Faulkner quote, which at the end of this essay you reader can judge whether I put it all in perspective.

     

     

    nature’s magic

    The Season Of Wings

    by | 0 | Jul 1, 2017
    The Season Of Wings

    The songs of birds, cicadas, and katydids really make Southern summers special. Quickly, can you tell me the difference between a cicada and a katydid? Which sings by day, and which sings by night … Ponder that.

    Unlike past summers, this one brings rain. So far, at least. And with the rain comes life. Lawns are lush and for whatever reason I’ve noticed that fireflies seem more abundant. Come dusk, they float over and around my deck, something they’ve never done before.

     

     

     

    keeping care affordable

    Dickering with the Nation’s Health Care

    by | 0 | Jul 1, 2017
    Louie Clay's Medical Insurance Costs 1985-2017

    While Congress dickers with health care, I am taking a close look at my own costs.

    I retired on December 31, 2001. In the 15½ years since, my health costs have averaged $4,842.02 per year and have been more than $2,000 for all but one of those years.

    In the 17 years before retirement, my medical costs never reached $2,000 a year.

     

     

    political partiality

    U.S. Supreme Court Appeases Donald Trump and His Islamophobic Base

    by | 2 | Jun 28, 2017
    U.S. Supreme Court Appeases Donald Trump and His Islamophobic Base

    Splitting the difference is sometimes the closest approximation to justice achievable when judges rule in contract and family disputes. When the liberty protections in the U.S. Constitution are involved, however, splitting the difference is an evasion of judicial responsibility. Consider the Supreme Court’s June 26th decision on the Muslim Ban in Donald J. Trump v. International Refugee Assistance and Donald J. Trump v. Hawaii.

     

     

    guaranteed profit

    Welfare Queen: The State of Georgia Power

    by | 0 | Jun 28, 2017
    Welfare Queen: The State of Georgia Power

    Everyone knows how free-market capitalism works: corporations invest money to make and market a product, then keep the profits. But what if you could persuade someone else to invest that money, while still pocketing the profits? Welcome to Georgia Power’s so-called “Nuclear Renaissance.” In 2009, Georgia’s General Assembly passed the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act, allowing Georgia Power and its partners to charge ratepayers in advance for the construction of two new reactors at Plant Vogtle

     

     

    name 12 people

    Leroy of Barnwell and other Southern gothic characters

    by | 4 | Jun 28, 2017
    Leroy of Barnwell and other Southern gothic characters

    Hand over my heart, this is a true story.

    The South is known for its unusual characters, right? They populate the stories of Southern writers like Erskine Caldwell, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, etc. and et al.

    But we Southerners know, don’t we, that you don’t have to crack one of these authors’ famous books to find such a fictional character’s prototype?

     

     

    foreign policy anarchy

    Qatar in 2017, Switzerland in 1938

    by | 1 | Jun 26, 2017
    Qatar in 2017, Switzerland in 1938

    The geopolitical peril facing Qatar in 2017 resembles that of Switzerland in 1938: small, wealthy, tenaciously independent … and caught between militarily powerful neighbors, one of which wants to end its neutrality. Eighty-one years ago, little Switzerland occupied some of the most dangerous territory on the planet, bordered by Nazi Germany to the north and east and by Fascist Italy to the south. With the Fall of France in 1940 she would be completely surrounded …

     

     

    threat by the sinister trio

    Aftershock, Robert Reich, a review

    by | 0 | Jun 22, 2017
    Concentrated Wealth - Ah you should be safe in here - cartoon of someone hiding money

    In his book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, Robert Reich reviews features in our society that undermine democracy – particularly concentrated wealth. And the off-shoot, lobbyists in effect bribing representatives and senators, vulnerable because they must raise money for their ever more expensive campaigns. The successful ones, when they leave office, with very nice self-voted retirement benefits, often go to work for the lobbying firms or corporations …

     

     

    don't be complacent

    Make Democrats Win Again

    by | 5 | Jun 21, 2017
    Make Democrats Win Again

    Spare me these embarrassing, condescending excuses for why a Democrat cannot win a closely contested special election. It’s been only a matter of hours since most major news outlets called the election for Karen Handel, but already I’ve grown tired of hearing “but it was close, which is a win in itself,” “Tom Price won by over 20 points in the last election, so the fact that it was even close surely says something,” or other meaningless variants of this infuriating phrase.

     

     

    tit for tat

    Back to Basics on School Vouchers

    by | 2 | Jun 18, 2017
    the GOP School Voucher Crew

    According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution education writer Maureen Downey, “The early architects of school choice maintained that getting kids out of struggling public schools into private ones would raise academic performance as measured by test scores.” She goes on to cite a study showing that students using publicly funded vouchers at District of Columbia private schools scored worse on standardized tests than their public school counterparts.

     

     

    tit for tat

    Daddy and the Sweet Old Lady’s Apoplectic Fit

    by | 0 | Jun 16, 2017
    Bill Strickland and young JL

    I was never exactly sure whether my father, Bill Strickland, was an amateur adult or a professional adolescent. Here is just one of the many incidents that led to my confusion.

    The Pledgers, Bryant and Erma, a middle age childless couple, were our next door neighbors in Fairfax , an east Alabama mill village, when I was growing up. Mr. Bryant operated the Sinclair Service Station at the cotton-mill village crossroads, which also served as the bus station. Miss Erma ran the cash register and kept the books.

     

     

    mckenzie beach

    The tides giveth and the tides taketh away

    by | 0 | Jun 16, 2017
    McKenzie Beach

    If you’ve driven South Carolina’s Ocean Highway (Hwy. 17), perhaps in hurrying from Georgetown to Myrtle Beach, you’ve probably noticed the ruins of old buildings on the east side of the road catercorner to the Fresh Market in Pawleys Island.

    The mouldering, vine-tangled ruins look like the setting for a Tennessee Williams play or a novel by William Faulkner. The whole property, in fact, has the look of a long-ago Southern yesteryear, or as black poet Langston Hughes might have put it: the look of a dream deferred.

     

     

    fight for justice and fairness

    Pure Suthun

    by | 1 | Jun 14, 2017
    Jeff Sessions - Keeper of the Flame by Donkey Hotey

    I have trouble listening to the news, especially when great nonsense is spoken in near perfect Suthun English.

    I taught in a secondary modern school in the London in 1965-66 after which I returned to work on my doctorate at the University of Alabama and teach undergraduates. An honors student from one of those classes is coming to visit this afternoon, the first time we have seen each other in 50 years!

     

     

     

    thanks, dad

    Hey Nineteen

    by | 2 | Jun 12, 2017
    Little League Baseball by Andrew Ahearne

    I was nine years old in the spring of 1967 when my father asked me if I wanted to tryout for Little League. I had no idea what Little League was but when he explained it was baseball, I quickly agreed. He had taken me to my first ballgame when I was six so any combination of my dad and baseball meant an instant yes. Back home a few hours later, he told me someone called to say I’d been picked to play for the Beachwood-Pine Beach (NJ) Little League Cardinals.

     

     

     

    betting with our money

    Vogtle Big Bet$ Lotto: Where has all the public’s money gone?

    by | 1 | Jun 9, 2017
    VOGTLE BIG BET$ LOTTO by Tom Ferguson

    It may be easier to understand the fast-moving drama of the slow-moving construction of Nuclear Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 if you look at the whole affair as a high-stakes betting game rather than the high-risk nuclear power project it appears to be.

    If you haven’t already, tune into the frequent financial headlines about the $10 billion debt ruining Georgia Power’s multi-national corporate partners building AP1000 reactors in Burke County, Georgia. Tom Ferguson, famous artist and Nuclear Watch South board president …

     

     

    sucker for bugle calls

    Everybody Has a Story

    by | 4 | Jun 5, 2017
    Everyone Has A Story

    Have you noticed that if you listen to people, everybody has a story? Even people who don’t realize they have one.

    I’m sure you have.

    Recently, an older acquaintance and I were talking about my early teenage years when I was often called upon to put on my Boy Scout uniform and play the bugle call “Taps” for area military funerals. Somehow, the conversation drifted to the death of his favorite uncle…

     

     

    the lessons I learned

    A Tribute to Grady Lee Randolph

    by | 0 | Jun 4, 2017
    A Tribute to Grady Lee Randolph

    While reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom years ago, I immediately thought of Mr. Randolph. He was my Morrie Schwartz—the most memorable teacher I ever had.

    Grady Randolph frequently spoke about his rural, humble beginnings in Possum Trot, Alabama. Because of his intense love of learning, he read every book in the local library and started a journal in his early teens that he continued his entire life. This spirit led him to the University of Chicago, where he earned a law degree. He married, joined the Atlanta Bar in 1954, and practiced law in Atlanta with his wife. But he also taught history at Henry Grady High School.

     

     

    not a strategy

    Our President is “Very, Very Not Smart”

    by | 4 | Jun 2, 2017
    Trump as Twitter Bird

    For months, I’ve struggled to decide whether Trump is a master manipulator, a Machiavellian puppet master of the electorate, or just a blundering idiot. Recently, I had been leaning towards the latter, and at 12:06 am on Wednesday morning, I got my answer: “covfefe.” He’s a blundering idiot.

    The problem with “covfefe” is not that in and of itself, it is dangerous, but that it seems to be part of a pattern…

     

     

    seeking answers

    Joey Can’t Tell Us

    by | 0 | Jun 1, 2017
    Joey Can’t Tell Us

    Hardly anybody talks about Joey Miller anymore. His car was found three days after he had gone missing–in a vacant lot on some rural property he had planned to develop. The trunk was locked and his body was inside it. Somebody had shot him twice – in his upper back and in the back of his head.

    The crime lab at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), sixty miles away in Tallahassee, even helped with some forensics…

     

     

    garden bug

    The World’s Most Expensive Vegetables

    by | 2 | May 31, 2017
    Raised bed for lettuce and beans

    I have a perennial burning urge to grow beans and lettuces, tomatoes and zucchini. I missed the season last year, moving house and garden, but I’m back on track. Although I garden on a modest scale, inadvertently I’ve embarked on a bid to grow the world’s most expensive vegetables.

    A preference for growing vegetables over flowers is proof of my prosaic side, but also illustrates a romantic approach to harvesting and cooking produce straight from the soil…

     

     

    enjoy freedom

    Americans distinctively thrive under our Bill of Rights

    by | 0 | May 31, 2017
    Americans distinctively thrive under our Bill of Rights

    Most Americans probably don’t realize how unique are their individual rights, compared to people living under other governments.

    Our Founding Fathers, in all their inspired wisdom, gave early Americans more rights than previously had any government anywhere in the world.  Those same rights, often multiplied in some ways, remain a cornerstone of living in the United States and go a long way in defining what it is to be an American.

    They are easily identified in our Bill of Rights.

     

     

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