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getting through it
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way.
You probably recognize that verse from Jingle Bells — But it’s those last two lines, O’er the fields we go, Laughing all the way, that have always been for me a powerful image for having fun and living life to the max.
Broadcast news coverage of the BREXIT Referendum has been nothing short of catastrophic. So bad is the quality of the journalism that, in keeping with the portmanteau usage, it should from here on be known as JOURNOCAT. Or perhaps INFOSTORT for ‘information distortion.’ Maybe NEWSCHLOCK or FUBARPROP would be more appropriate. You get the idea.
delicious summer weather
I’m a South Carolina native who grew up in Georgia, and I have lived in one of these two states most of my life except for two years in the Navy (during which I never saw a ship — a story for another time) and a misguided six months in California, land of fruits and nuts.
How bad was the golden state? Well, when I got back home I kissed the ground and vowed never again to leave the South except for visits, and only then with a copy of my birth certificate in hand to prove where I was from so I could be sure to get back in.
But I might have been a bit hasty in making that pledge. Two reasons: Iowa and Maine.
called personal responsibilty
OK, we’ve all been waiting breathlessly for Congress to change the gun-control laws in order to make America safer. My lungs are about to collapse, aren’t yours? I was sure they’d take some action after Orlando, but the votes are in, and guess what? NADA.
So, how about looking at the problem from a whole different perspective? One that takes away the need for laws and court hearings and the involvement of governmental agencies.
satire on the campaign trail
My brother and sister Americans, let me introduce myself: my name is Arturo Tad Semple. Fearing someone might think I liked longhair classical music, or read books, or attended foreign movies, or watched PBS, or was born in Italy or France, or god forbid, Kenya, I dropped the “Arturo” years ago in favor of just a simple, less confusing “A.” I hope this information makes it easier to understand why I am known as A. Tad Semple.
I prefer it that way. It is an unique name and is easy to remember. And it fits me.
That’s a question I asked in connection with our utility’s plan to make $41 million in capital improvements in the next five years. The consultant who put together the list and the necessary funding strategies for the JWSC claimed that was a question he’d never considered.
In trying to find an answer to how many jobs are produced by a million dollar investment, I discover that it’s a question that is being asked all around the globe, but no firm answers are forthcoming. Everything’s relative and depends on local conditions. Duh!
In 1993, Bill Clinton became president of the United States for the first time. The movie “Unforgiven” won the Oscar for the Best Picture of the Year. A 51-day stand-off at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, ended with a fire that killed 76 people, including David Koresh. The Unabomber’s first bomb injured computer scientist David Gelernter at Yale University. The first version of Microsoft’s Windows NT operating systems was released. Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston was the number one song.
I was coming back from a run the other day in Central Park. It was a beautiful day – the sun was high and my heart was wide. On the sidewalk a few blocks from my apartment there was this little orange chrysanthemum that had recently been uprooted – soil still clinging to its roots, softly, gently. There was so much potential in that flower to have life, to flourish, if only given the chance…
not us v. them
The world is a complicated place (even more so than when I worked in American national security circles during the neo-cold war years of the 1980s). Making the right policy decisions is therefore a great challenge.
And the stakes are high – war and peace, life and death – not only for us Americans but, because of the power and leadership role of the United States, for everyone on earth.
his ordinary decency
A sports author has done the state of Georgia and Ty Cobb, in particular, a major service. Author Charles Leerhsen of Brooklyn, N. Y. has published an authoritative biography: Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty. The book enhances and clarifies the reputation of Georgia’s “Big Peach,” who was maybe the most controversial player in baseball. The book won the 2015 Casey Award for the best baseball book of the year.
Ty Cobb was the greatest batsman in baseball history, an average of .366, the highest lifetime average of any baseball player.
Although defeating Donald Trump is one essential goal for this fall’s campaign, that should be seen as one important means toward the ultimate goal, which is to move the nation forward.
There is every reason to believe that the Republicans in Congress would try to do to a new Democratic President what they’ve been doing for more than seven years to the current Democratic President: use their power to obstruct progress on all fronts.
For that reason, a wise Democratic campaign must also minimize Republican power in Congress.
echoes of wild raggedy sun-crazed children
Wherever it was, it’s not there anymore. . . .Then again, maybe it is.
Rising up out of the water were three enormous white towers. I’m sure of that. Three. They looked like very tall rectangular scaffolds made of wood with ladders leading up to platforms near their tops from which people jumped off. One of them had a diving board, but the other two were more in demand among the more daring and were unlike anything anywhere else in the city and were the reason so many people like us came from so far to swim here.
paying your dues
Blame Facebook for this post. Got into an online conversation with a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter who had a jaundiced opinion of the Democratic Party’s “super delegates.” The few basics I offered about how our political parties work came as news to him, as he thought they would to most people. I thought they would to almost nobody. In case he’s right and I’m not, I’m filling out here what I told my fellow Facebooker.
Almost a year later, the remarkable words of family members in pain still ring in our ears.
“I forgive you,” one said in a crowded courtroom. “May God have mercy on you,” another added. “Hate won’t win,” said a third.
One after another, five people squeezed by turmoil forgave an accused killer, who stood pancake-faced in shackles in a separate room and watched his bond hearing on a television screen.
There’s been a change in how I see Donald Trump.
A few months ago, I saw him as an accomplished actor, able to pick what role to play for the occasion– such as to become the dominant figure in the race for the Republican nomination. I believed he had understood how he could tap into the passions simmering in a large part of the Republican base and ride those passions to power.
exposing hypocrisy & corruption
Amy Goodman hosts a groundbreaking radio news show out of New York City, which is also videocast. She covers news from a non-corporate perspective, extolling what she calls Independent Media. She titled her latest book, Democracy Now, because she says it is the only way she can get her show’s name in the New York Times. If it becomes a best seller (which it has) they sort of have to list it. Otherwise, cover non-corporate news and you’re excluded from the corporate media. You’re not quite respectable…
a bit of nostalgia
One usually arrives early and sits patiently. Others file in slowly, leaning on walkers. Some carry oxygen tanks. Many come in wheelchairs, a rolling procession that looks like a car race just as the caution flag comes out. Some amble in using canes and the newer style walking sticks, the kind you can stand on its own. One or two, perhaps, walk in unaided as they have done all their life. What is their secret?
They live in homes that generally lean on nature for their names. Words like leaf, forest, oak, pine, woods, laurel, spring…
As if I needed any further proof that I spend too much time on the Internet, I ran across an alarming article that describes a new fad – anus bleaching – which is popular among some rich, vain, mostly Hollywood women. And, no doubt, probably more than a few men.
(I won’t say what I was looking for when I found this outlandish website. That information is on a need-to-know basis.)
our collective mood is foul
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” – Matthew 7:15
In watching aghast the incomprehensible ascendancy of Donald Trump, I am struck with a sense of déjà vu. Where else have I heard of a people, drowning in despair, who clutch for a life raft of false promises? And then it comes back to me.
Real Food, Done Real Good
I went down to the crossroads, got down on my knees, and prayed. Thanks for such great food, that is. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers, went down to the crossroads, to deal with the devil who shot up from the ground to confront him. Me? I went down to the crossroads where wicked chickens lay deviled eggs.
The crossroads? SC Highways 185 and 284, respectively known as the Due West Highway and Trail Road. Locals refer to it as Saylors Crossroads…
angry bernie birds
I didn’t think it would happen to me. I thought I was so open minded; basically a wild-eyed radical gently easing into being a nice liberal.
Live and let live. Well, no more.
I like to think that I am an informed, conscientious world citizen. On Twitter as @hidingunderhere I follow 930 news feeds and supporters for all types of candidates and issues from places all over the earth. The feed has been my loyal companion when I want to find the truth, because recently the mainstream media #MSM has failed to cover almost everything, choosing 24/7 McTrumpNews instead…
Hope y’all gits bit by a rabid ’coon
Johnny Depp has been generating a lot of free publicity back home in the US. Free for him that is – Australia is paying for it. You might remember that in April of this year Mr Depp and his wife, Amber Heard – or is it “then wife”, I don’t really follow what passes for the lives of film and TV stars – brought their two pampered mongs, Pistol and Boo, on a little jaunt to Australia where their daddy was filming yet another blockbuster aimed at children and adults under 15. Problem was…
persuade your supporters
Show us how you’ll campaign, as the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party to take power away from the obstructionist Republicans in Congress, which must be overcome for anything to be accomplished now matter whether it’s you or Hillary who wins the White House.
And let’s hear the speech you’d make to your followers to motivate them to do all they can to make sure that Donald Trump doesn’t become president. You’ve said yourself how vitally important that is. Let’s hear how well you can persuade your supporters to see what you see about the urgency of stopping Trump…
teaches us all
When I was a boy growing up in the 1950s our neighborhood swimming pool was segregated. When the first black girl was elected queen of my high school a few years after I graduated in 1962 there was a near riot. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, not Columbus, Georgia.
With the Civil Rights Movement beginning to sizzle in America in the early 1960, I learned about James Baldwin for the first time. Novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist, Baldwin helped focus my eyes on the racial and social issues that bedeviled and continue to bedevil this country…
on civil disobedience
I’m old enough to remember a time when metro Atlanta had gotten big enough to be a serious obstacle in the way of getting myself and my young sons from where we lived in Alabama to the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia or North Carolina. Also big enough to have what had to be if not the biggest the very best independent bookstore on the planet, Oxford Books in Buckhead (d. 1997). But small enough to be usable. You could get in and out in one day and have a not too stressful metropolitan good time without a police escort…
Last week in Charleston a large mural of Rev. Clementa Pinckney was unveiled. It was done by 28-year-old Columbia artist Tripp Barnes. It is big and colorful and covers the whole outside wall of a building on St. Phillips Street, a few blocks from my house and from Emanuel AME Church.
In addition to his likeness, the mural also has a short but powerful quote by Clem: “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history – we haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”
Until a month ago I was a mobile phone virgin. I’d fooled around a little but my inexperience showed. In constant fear of making mistakes, I was timid, not in control. When we lived in the same town my son had given me a primitive mobile phone in an effort to keep in touch. Every few months when he or his wife needed to get hold of me to invite me for lunch or pick up a grandchild, the phone was invariably flat, turned off, in another handbag or glove compartment; frustrating for them.