LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Sun, 16 Dec 2018 18:21:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.1 http://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com 32 32 Free All Americans Held By Turkey, Not Just Rev. Andrew Brunson http://likethedew.com/2018/12/16/free-all-americans-held-by-turkey-not-just-rev-andrew-brunson/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/16/free-all-americans-held-by-turkey-not-just-rev-andrew-brunson/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 18:21:50 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70162

For two years, Christians have prayed for the release of the Rev. Andrew Brunson, an American held in prison in Turkey. His recent release by a Turkish Court was a source of joy for America. But if it leads to the murder of the most anti-terrorist Muslim cleric who is living in America, as part of some sick “trade,” it will not only be a most un-Christian action by the U.S., but it will demonstrate that America can be coerced by hostage-taking, weakening this country’s foreign policy, even as more Americans are held captive in Turkey.

Two years ago, Brunson was arrested in Turkey, where he had preached for nearly 20 years in Izmir, a West Turkish coastal city. He was accused of being part of the Fethullah Gulen (Hizmet) movement, whose spiritual leader preaches education, a liberal brand of Islam, cooperation between Christians, Jews and Muslims and who abhors terrorism.

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For two years, Christians have prayed for the release of the Rev. Andrew Brunson, an American held in prison in Turkey. His recent release by a Turkish Court was a source of joy for America. But if it leads to the murder of the most anti-terrorist Muslim cleric who is living in America, as part of some sick “trade,” it will not only be a most un-Christian action by the U.S., but it will demonstrate that America can be coerced by hostage-taking, weakening this country’s foreign policy, even as more Americans are held captive in Turkey.

Two years ago, Brunson was arrested in Turkey, where he had preached for nearly 20 years in Izmir, a West Turkish coastal city. He was accused of being part of the Fethullah Gulen (Hizmet) movement, whose spiritual leader preaches education, a liberal brand of Islam, cooperation between Christians, Jews and Muslims and who abhors terrorism.

Donald Trump (US President) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (President of Turkey)
Donald Trump (US President) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (President of Turkey)

Cleric Gulen does more than just speak out against terrorism. He took out full-page ads denouncing 9/11 terrorists, and those who attacked Charlie Hebdo, etc. For condemning those in the Muslim world who condemn Christianity, Gulen is seen as so pro-American that he’s been accused of being a CIA agent, or at least funded by them.

When a small band of rogue Turkish military officers allegedly tried to overthrow the increasingly dictatorial regime of “Islamist” populist Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president blamed the United States, and the 77-year-old Gulen (who has lived in Pennsylvania for years) of orchestrating the coup. Gulen’s an easy target, given his close ties to America, and his reform-minded version of Islam that seeks cooperation with Christians and Jews.

So anyone accused of being friends with Gulen’s movement, like Brunson, were locked up as “coup plotters,” even those there’s not a shred of evidence against Gulen and the tens of thousands of teachers, judges, police officers, human rights workers and other ordinary Turkish citizens facing indefinite imprisonment for trying to build an inter-faith dialogue. And Erdogan has locked up more Americans as well who are tied to this group, to be used as bargaining chips.

If we short-circuit the U.S. judicial process on extradition matters (which has blocked Turkey’s groundless case) and send the most pro-American Muslim to a Middle Eastern country to face a gruesome execution, what does that say about us as a Christian country? Our leaders would be like King Ahaz of Judah, groveling before the Assyrians, allowing the 12 Tribes of Israel to be ethnically cleansed in an unholy bargain, undermining the faith in God.

There’s also the matter of American foreign policy. By surrendering Gulen in order to retrieve our hostage, Brunson, it will prove to the world that America can be pressured into doing another country’s bidding. Rogue states and terrorists will be taking notes. Think of those other American hostages that Erdogan has imprisoned to be traded for us doing his dirty work in the Syria and the rest of the Middle East, helping him rebuild the Ottoman Empire?

Thankfully, President Donald Trump has so far resisted the urge to kowtow before Erdogan’s throne. Republicans and Democrats in Congress have also sanctioned Erdogan for ordering his bodyguards to beat up American citizens in Washington, D.C. If you cheered Brunson’s release, contact your elected officials in the House (www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative) and Senate (www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm), and demand they fight for the unconditional release all Americans held in Turkish captivity this Christmas.

John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.

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Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter http://likethedew.com/2018/12/16/evangelicals-vote-nones-falter/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/16/evangelicals-vote-nones-falter/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:32:27 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70186

In the 2018 election, America’s shrinking segment of white evangelicals mobilized strongly for the Republican Party – but the rising cohort of nonreligious Americans failed to exert their full political power.

 

As secularism grows relentlessly, white evangelicals have declined to a mere 15 percent of the U.S. population (down from 20 percent in 2012). But they’re so ardent for conservative causes that they constituted 26 percent among the 113 million voters who cast ballots on Nov. 6. And they gave three-fourths of their votes to GOP candidates, according to exit polls.

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In the 2018 election, America’s shrinking segment of white evangelicals mobilized strongly for the Republican Party – but the rising cohort of nonreligious Americans failed to exert their full political power.

As secularism grows relentlessly, white evangelicals have declined to a mere 15 percent of the U.S. population (down from 20 percent in 2012). But they’re so ardent for conservative causes that they constituted 26 percent among the 113 million voters who cast ballots on Nov. 6. And they gave three-fourths of their votes to GOP candidates, according to exit polls.

Secular baptism

In contrast, Americans who say their religion is “none” have climbed to one-fourth of the population, but they were only 17 percent of voters this year. Skeptic-agnostic-disinterested folks apparently shun politics along with church worship.

I think it’s a shame that “nones” mostly shrug while white evangelicals throw themselves into elections. Nonreligious Americans tend to hold liberal, compassionate, progressive views, and if their full potential could be realized, the nation’s values would improve.

Prodding “nones” to become politically active – to show them the importance of democracy involvement – should be a top goal of the secular movement.

On the other side, prodding is fierce among white evangelicals. A New York Times report titled “God’s Red Army” outlined a massive fundamentalist blitz designed to generate born-again votes for Republicans on Election Day.

For example, Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition budgeted $18 million “to micro-target around 125 million social conservative voters across 19 different states through door-to-door interactions, digital ads, phone calls and mailers,” The Christian Post reported. A total of 28 million digital ads were e-mailed to smartphones and laptops on the weekend before balloting.

Further, the Family Research Council sent 36-page “values voter” guides to 28,000 far-right pastors before the election, and also sent “values buses” to key congressional districts as mobile get-out-the-vote units. 

In addition, Watchmen on the Wall held “pastor briefings” in various states to help ministers mobilize their congregations for Republicans.

Technically, preachers are forbidden to endorse political parties or candidates – but the electioneering blitz left no doubt that the “pro-life party” is the GOP, which also champions “religious freedom,” meaning the right to hate gays, Muslims and other “enemies.”

As the pre-election operation went ballistic, longtime American Atheists leader Ed Buckner wished sarcastically that the Rapture would whisk all the fundamentalists to heaven before they could vote. Organizing beats snark every time, Ed.

After the election, Ralph Reed boasted at a news conference at the National Press Club:

“We had an astonishing level of evangelical voters cast their ballots. This is the most ambitious and the most effective voter education, get-out-the-vote program directed at the faith-based vote in a midterm election in modern political history.”

He said the fundamentalist turnout prevented a Democratic “blue wave” from inflicting much worse damage on Republicans.

“We had an astonishing level of evangelical voters cast their ballots. This is the most ambitious and the most effective voter education, get-out-the-vote program directed at the faith-based vote in a midterm election in modern political history.”

Until that happens, I simply hope that the steady retreat of religion in America will reduce white evangelicals to an ever-smaller fringe, a petty clique unable to sway elections.

James Haught

James Haught

James Haught, syndicated by PeaceVoice,is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

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Why we oppose offshore testing and drilling more than ever: Climate Change http://likethedew.com/2018/12/16/why-we-oppose-offshore-testing-and-drilling-more-than-ever-climate-change/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/16/why-we-oppose-offshore-testing-and-drilling-more-than-ever-climate-change/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:00:51 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70182

For the last 15 years we've been strongly opposed to offshore drilling - and have persistently said so on opinion pages from Georgia's coast to Atlanta and beyond.

Likewise, we object to the recent approval of seismic testing in offshore areas along Georgia by the Trump administration. Not only will such testing irresponsibly harm marine life - as well documented - but all fossil-fuel related projects should be unconditionally opposed because they will worsen increasingly dangerous climate-change impacts.

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For the last 15 years we’ve been strongly opposed to offshore drilling – and have persistently said so on opinion pages from Georgia’s coast to Atlanta and beyond.

Likewise, we object to the recent approval of seismic testing in offshore areas along Georgia by the Trump administration. Not only will such testing irresponsibly harm marine life – as well documented – but all fossil-fuel related projects should be unconditionally opposed because they will worsen increasingly dangerous climate-change impacts.

Offshore drilling rig

Objections to offshore drilling must include well-reasoned justification supporting the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to prevent catastrophic flooding, drought, and mass migrations that will be caused by unchecked climate change.

Damage to marine life done by seismic testing and offshore drilling – though very objectionable – will be far less destructive than permanent harm to both ocean and land-based species (including humans) brought by continued emission of GHGs.

Moreover, don’t be fooled by false claims justifying fossil-fuel projects on the basis of “U.S. energy independence.” Such assertions are misleading fabrications, made obvious by the fact that America is now EXPORTING more fossil fuels than ever before. Using this deception, the fossil-fuel industry is recklessly profiting at ever-greater risk to the future of our environment, economy, and quality of life.

Oppose offshore drilling and seismic testing – without doubt – BUT also oppose other fossil-fuel projects such as pipelines, processing plants, and export facilities. All such fossil-fuel activities will only worsen the disastrous effects of an overheating climate. 

Opposing offshore activities while remaining silent about how they’re related to increasing climate threats will only assist in prolonging reckless emission of GHGs – compounding future disasters, especially in coastal areas.

Another fabrication that must be defeated is the absurd obstructionist claim that reducing GHGs will harm the economy. Actually, the opposite is true – proven by hundreds of thousands of American jobs created by clean energy.

Falsehoods spread by fossil-fuel profiteers are glaringly contradicted by the fact that there are already over TEN TIMES more U.S. jobs in solar energy than in coal. With responsible reforms in energy policy and continuing market trends favoring solar panels and wind turbines, replacing fossil-fuel-based power sources with clean energy will bring billions in American business opportunity and millions of new jobs – while helping to prevent the worst dangers of climate disruption.

Concerned citizens are advised to support the Off Fossil Fuels Act, now in Congress.

David Kyler

David Kyler

Executive Director at Center for a Sustainable Coast.

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Lou Reed, The Myddle Class and Al http://likethedew.com/2018/12/12/lou-reed-the-myddle-class-and-al/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/12/lou-reed-the-myddle-class-and-al/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:55:25 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70136

A friend of mine, a writer, back woods recluse, and alumni of the Governmental Dark Arts Society, David Evans, recently sent me a story about a girl who worked in her father’s typewriter shop and met Lou Reed one day when he popped in one day as a customer.

Well, I ask you, who the hell doesn’t have a Lou Reed story?
 
Steve Rosa, lived on Kline Boulevard in Berkeley Heights, N.J. and was a childhood friend of mine. Steve’s brother, Myke Rosa, was the drummer for the rock band the Myddle Class - sometimes referred to as “the best band that didn’t make it”. When Steve first told me his brother was the drummer in a rock band, I didn’t believe him. Rock bands were magic, the people in them were famous, how could your friend’s brother, living in our little neighborhood possibly be famous? That just didn’t happen...

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A friend of mine, a writer, back woods recluse, and alumni of the Governmental Dark Arts Society, David Evans, recently sent me a story about a girl who worked in her father’s typewriter shop and met Lou Reed one day when he popped in one day as a customer.

Well, I ask you, who the hell doesn’t have a Lou Reed story?
 
Steve Rosa, lived on Kline Boulevard in Berkeley Heights, N.J. and was a childhood friend of mine. Steve’s brother, Myke Rosa, was the drummer for the rock band the Myddle Class – sometimes referred to as “the best band that didn’t make it”. When Steve first told me his brother was the drummer in a rock band, I didn’t believe him. Rock bands were magic, the people in them were famous, how could your friend’s brother, living in our little neighborhood possibly be famous? That just didn’t happen. I was sure Steve was bullshitting me until he showed me a promo photo showing the band wearing “Beatle boots” that were so frickin’ cool back then. It wasn’t the photo, it was the boots in the photo which convinced me the rock band was real. Only members of a rock band could be cool enough to own Beatle boots. Steve even showed me the actual boots, pointed toes, zipper up the side, midnight black – I had never seen anything cooler and I tried to put them on. Though Myke was considerably older than me, he was a small guy, my feet were large … they didn’t fit.

The manager of the Myddle Class was the scandalously gifted, notoriously difficult, journalist Al Aronowitz who lived four doors down from my family in a battleship grey, suburban ranch house directly across from our grammar school. Al, at one time wrote for all the big-time New York magazines and newspapers and is considered by some writers as the first rock and roll journalist. Unfortunately by the end of his life Al had been blacklisted by all the magazines — as I said, Al was a very difficult man. Al is a whole ‘nuther story in itself. At the time Al was good friends with Bob Dylan and among other things Al and Bob were the ones responsible for turning the Beatles onto pot. Late in his life Al and I crossed paths and for years Al would call me every week, then every month, and in his barely understandable, gravelly voice Al would bitch-on about the world, the people he knew, his relationships with his kids and republican politics. But Bob Dylan was often the target of his ire. Once during a long, teeth rattling rant about Bob he spit out “Trevor, never let your wife get in a car with Bob … ‘cuz he’ll fuck her.” Not expecting that, and not quite sure how to respond, I finally reassured him I would do my best not to let that happen.
 
Anyhoo, back to Lou.
 
In 1965 ,” ” was on its way up, Carol King and her husband, Gerry Goffin, were the producers behind them and had released several 45’s – which Al proceeded to pass out to kids in our neighborhood to “build an audience.” He told kids to “Play them for your friends.” Talk about grass roots marketing.

The Myddle Class recorded some great original songs as well as good covers – their discography includes “Free as the Wind,” “Gates of Eden,” “Don’t Let Me Sleep too Long (“Wake Me Shake Me”), “I Happen to Love You,” “Don’t Look Back,” “Wind Chime Laughter,” ” Wake Me Shake Me.” You can still find digital recordings of some of their stuff on the internet – Google ‘em, they were a great 60’s band.

Al was hauling the band and their equipment all over the Tri-State area in his new station wagon and booking gigs where ever he could. The Myddle Class was going to hit the big time and Al was going to get them there. Al got them a gig as headliners at Summit High School in Summit N.J., a town just down Springfield Avenue from us. And who opened for the Myddle Class that evening? A little-known band who had just changed their name to The Velvet Underground and their front man was an unknown guy named Lou Reed. That evening the tiny flame of rock and roll fame was lit in the gymnasium at Summit High school. So there is my Lou Reed story, I told you I had a Lou Reed story, I didn’t say it was a great Lou Reed story.

Members of the Myddle Class – Myke Rosa is on the far right wearing the coolest Beatle boots ever.
Members of the Myddle Class – Myke Rosa (far right) wearing the coolest Beatle boots ever.

Unfortunately for music history … and Al, it all came to an end. One of the guitarists for the Myddle Class was murdered, Al’s station wagon bit the bullet, personalities clashed, contracts didn’t happen, and things fell apart. Lou and The Velvet Underground went on to rock and roll fame and the members of the Myddle Class were “Free as the Wind” and scattered to various places. Some met fame through other bands, but the potential of the Myddle Class evaporated. To this day I’m disappointed that my feet wouldn’t fit in the boots that had shared the stage with The Velvet Underground which ended my “sole” brush with rock and roll fame and four degrees of separation from Lou Reed.

The last time I saw Myke Rosa he was tending door at the Academy of Music in NYC. I think he moved to Florida and played with a few bands but never really resurfaced in the music world. And my good friend Steve? He was one terrific guy, kind, funny, handsome. He enlisted in the military and died of a heroin overdose while in Germany. As I recall the obit listed Steve’s official cause of death as double pneumonia, but I have it on pretty good authority that it wasn’t.

There are no great take-a-ways from all this, just small circular connections while growing up in a nondescript town in America. Stories you can tell after a couple too many beers.

In the happenstance of life, the world lost a good band, Lou Reed got famous, I lost a good friend, and Al went to his reward still pissed at Bob Dylan.

That’s the way things go sometimes.

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Trevor Stone Irvin

Trevor Stone Irvin

Illustrator and Designer living in the Candler Park area...At one time I worked at the Atlanta Constitution and then for CNN at the startup...it all seemed too much like real work so I went freelance...which my father defined as "being unemployed for a real long time".

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Child Bride http://likethedew.com/2018/12/09/child-bride/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/09/child-bride/#respond Sun, 09 Dec 2018 11:30:48 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70113 Child Bride I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as a witness to what I imagine. --Terry Tempest Williams Irene was nineteen.  She was about to become Mrs. John N. Napier.  Her mother told her all would be fine.  Mr. Napier was seventy-one. On a recent cold November morning, I began my morning routine of starting a fire in our great room wood stove.  When I pulled out a newspaper from the kindling box to use along with some small cuts of wood, I noticed the paper seemed unusually old and yellowed.  To my surprise I had two entire “Richmond Times-Dispatch” editions.  One was dated 9 January and the other the tenth.  But what widened my eyes was the year . . . 1967.  They must have come in as packing material in some mail-order delivery. I opened this time capsule, intrigued to see what was happening in Virginia and the rest of the world in 1967.]]>

Child Bride
I write as a witness to what I have seen.
I write as a witness to what I imagine.
–Terry Tempest Williams

Irene was nineteen.  She was about to become Mrs. John N. Napier.  Her mother told her all would be fine.  Mr. Napier was seventy-one.

On a recent cold November morning, I began my morning routine of starting a fire in our great room wood stove.  When I pulled out a newspaper from the kindling box to use along with some small cuts of wood, I noticed the paper seemed unusually old and yellowed.  To my surprise I had two entire “Richmond Times-Dispatch” editions.  One was dated 9 January and the other the tenth.  But what widened my eyes was the year . . . 1967.  They must have come in as packing material in some mail-order delivery.

Antique bride and groom cake topper
Antique bride and groom cake toppers portrayed as an older couple. Unusual in that they have grey hair and the woman is wearing a non-traditional colored dress.

I opened this time capsule, intrigued to see what was happening in Virginia and the rest of the world in 1967.  I had just graduated from college the year before and was about to be drafted.  Tucked back on page 11 of the 10 January edition was an Associated Press story of the wedding in Covington, Kentucky.  The brief account quoted Irene as saying her “childhood environment” had prepared her for such a wedding.  I doubted that a 19-year old young woman in backwoods Kentucky in 1967 would have used “childhood environment” in conversation.

Irene’s father, 74 at the time of the wedding, was 30 years older than Irene’s mother.  Irene’s new husband, a retired school teacher and postal clerk, attended elementary school with Irene’s father.

I wanted to know so much more, since Irene was just four years younger than I was in 1967.  What happens to a young woman her age when she marries a man so much older?  What kind of life did she live?

I wanted to ask my sisters and all the girls I knew from my schooldays what it would take to marry a man old enough to be their grandfather.  After getting past the jokes about inheriting a fortune and becoming a widow on your wedding night, the marriage was just too kooky.  I know a few of my high school sweethearts hooked up with “older men” who were perhaps in their early twenties when the girls were fresh out of high school.  But no one stretched the limit more than a few years.

I could see my mother rolling her eyes.  My grandmother Julia would have slammed her hand down on the table with a loud smack and muttered, “What the hell’s wrong with those people?”  Julia ended up in rural Appalachian Ohio in 1907 after a homestead fling in Oklahoma went bust.  The farm my mother grew up on was not far from Cincinnati on one side of the Ohio River and Covington on the other.  Julia had strong opinions, and I imagine her saying, “No skunky riffraff like that lived in our neck of the woods.  We would have run ‘em out.”

Irene’s story keeps rolling around in my head.  I never knew any Irenes when I was growing up and I don’t know any now.  The name is old fashioned to me.  In classic mythology, Irene was one of the Horae, the goddesses of the seasons, of cyclical death and rebirth, and sometimes of social order, usually given as three in number, with the names Dike (Justice), Eunomia (Order), and Irene (Peace).

I started to wonder about this Irene and how her life turned out.  Was she a victim whose parents ushered her into an unseemly marriage?  Was she close to her grandmother who had also agreed to her daughter marrying a man thirty years older?  Irene’s grandmother was probably the same age as Irene’s father and now husband.  Did Irene’s younger sisters tremble that they might be next?  Did her father still command her to his will when she and her husband visited?  I imagined them all around the Thanksgiving table, young Irene carrying her first of many children.  My wife Jody shuddered at the image of the old man putting his hands on this young flesh.

All her mother told her was, “Do what he says and don’t mouth off.”  Grandma probably stood mute, except to add, “That’s the only way.”

What kind of child was she, what kind of “childhood environment” did she have?  I imagine her telling me, “I’d lie on the grass beneath the lilac tree and breathe until I’d almost faint.  In those days I also would spin around and around until I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand up.”  Other times she would tell herself, “Press hard against the wall like that bat did.  Don’t let daddy know I’m in the room.  He’s so angry I want to disappear.”

Did she cherish old picture magazines?  Did she share a bedroom and sleep with six other siblings?  How clean were her clothes?  Did they have tears or were they mended with patches?  How long did she have to wait to use the house’s only toilet?  How often did she fall asleep at night listening to the party downstairs: poker chips, ice cubes, and her mother shuffling cards?  How did the tang of her mother’s particular words differ from that of her father’s?  Did she have a transistor radio to listen to pop tunes?  Did she fall into uncontrollable giggles whenever she was frightened?  Oh, I have so many questions.

What were the smells of her childhood house?  I imagine wet, dirty laundry, cigarettes, whiskey, food gone bad.  Maybe her only real protection, or so she thought, was her tequila-breathing Uncle John, who always knew what to say, crying out “stop this wickedness” whenever her father would go on a rage and life really disintegrated.  “Nobody beats a child when I’m around, you hear!” he would bellow.  But then Uncle John tried to molest her.

Before her parents arranged her marriage, I can see how she might have only had sex with one boy, usually out doors or in his worn-out pickup.  His hair would be slicked back with brill cream jell.  For sure, he tucked a pack of cigarettes into his rolled-up t-shirt sleeve.  At one time she probably wondered what she had done to make him dump her.  She aged the night he pushed her out of a moving car.  Her eyes lost some twinkle and she always afterward carried money in her purse, just in case.

 

A female friend of mine rooted for a big coronary to have felled Mr. John Napier just at the moment Irene slipped off her dress and crawled into the wedding bed.  But that probably never happened.  Maybe he was more savior than dirty old man and gently initiated her into womanhood.  I hope he was kind and considerate.  Perhaps he treated her with respect and listened to her.  There’s always a chance he provided a good home, helped raise the kids, didn’t drink to excess, and wasn’t a womanizer.

In the best of all worlds, maybe she enjoyed her marriage and found frequent peaceful moments when she could hold her first son as she sat on a bench near a small pond her husband dug for her.  The pool could have been beside a flower garden she tended with care.  She might even have had a pride of cats she doted on and who draped themselves on her bed on winter afternoons.  I can see her trying on various new dresses she bought at her husband’s urging.  He pushed her to continue her schooling and encouraged her to paint more of her still life bowls of fruit.  All possibilities in his favor.

But perhaps he was just a “badder,” the name she gave men who abused her, and snuffed out what remained of her childhood.  Maybe he slapped her around and used his favorite threat when she talked back to him: “Your jawbone want to lose another tooth?”  He might well have been a terrorist rapist whenever he could nudge his aging libido into action, seldom bathed, never brushed his teeth, refused to change his underwear, and tracked his muddy boots into the house.

I can see Napier criticizing her shape because of her scoliosis.  He probably made her sleep with her face in the pillow to correct an upturned nose.  “I hate him.  I want to slowly sink my teeth into his butt.”  When she finally left Napier, I can see her putting up an Elvis poster and sleeping with her nose out again.

 

I think of her in terms of the decades that followed her marriage.  Had she stayed with Napier, how many children would she have had by the time she was twenty-nine?  Would she or he have still been alive on her thirty-ninth birthday?  Did she still share Thanksgiving meals with her parents along the way?  Did she take a lover when the old man fell sick from diabetes in his mid-eighties?  Was she still there when he was buried on some hillside grave or had she long fled?

Then again, maybe she died in childbirth or just wore out young from neglect and overwork.  Did she find solace in alcohol or drugs?  Did she forget deodorant and fail to buy toothpaste?  Did she walk around with grimy stains around her neck and under her arms?  Were there cigarette burns on the skirt, a hem mended by her own hand?  A lingering stink, perhaps of ham from the hogs she butchered, hung up to age, and then hacked apart.

I continue to worry about her and have so many unanswered questions.  My mind swirls thinking of what happens to a young girl married off to a stranger more than fifty years her senior?

One dismal possibility is that she ended up in some derelict bar dancing topless to a bunch of hooligan bumpkins.  Maybe she became so hateful that you could light a cigarette from her glare.  Who could blame her?  There must have lingered some deep hurt within her that made her the equivalent of a collapsed nuclear power plant that refused to cool off.

I can see her mug shot with that mop of big hair that needs some untangling and a good scrub.  She’s sporting a prison tattoo on her fleshy forearm, a crude impression bearing witness to whatever meaning is hidden in the image of a speeding tractor trailer burned into her skin.  I can almost see the sign on the back of her truck:  “How Is My Driving?”

Perhaps it was after she was released following her sixth arrest that she sat in a corner of the bar nursing a grudge against the guy on stage twanging his ruin of a guitar.  I hear the shouting and dodge the flying beer bottles as a rolling boil erupts in this den of scoundrels.  It all starts when the guitarist suddenly asks between numbers, “How many a youse been in prison?”  He is looking directly at her.  Some people cheer as she gets up and moves toward the stage.

Who knows how the little skunk-hole drama concluded.  One thing for sure, there was some serious fire on that dance floor that night.  It was more than a smokin’ platform.  It was scorched.  Even a dedicated drunk sought distance from the two of them rolling around on the floor like cartoon characters scratching and clawing and spilling shit on each other till someone got seriously hurt.  Jail was calling, too, maybe for a long time depending on how close to the bone they found their hatred.

Discovering that half-century old newspaper stashed away in a kindling box was the find of the year for me.  It was a treasure trove of a time capsule taking me back to my young adulthood.  So many stories whose endings I now know beckoned out to be read.  Back to the future.  I was delighted and fascinated by what I found: Defense official says five percent of aid to Vietnam is lost to theft “and other diversions”;Adam Clayton Powell removed from House Education and Labor committee; Red Guards run amuck in China; and Gerald Ford re-elected as republican leader in the House and Melvin Laird as chairman of the House GOP conference.  Best of all was the report saying that Nixon considered 1967 as his “year of decision,” “a hint that he will seek the republican presidential nomination in 1968.”  A car ad offered the “brand-new 1967 Potomac Sport Coupe” for $2,424.  The Dow finished at 808.68. There’s a picture of Joe Dimaggio on the sports page talking with Frank Robinson.  Another filler entitled “Hat is Symbol, also a Signal” identified the first Navajo to be elected to the Arizona state legislature.  Asked about the tall black hat he wore, the man said it’s tradition for the head man of the tribe.  He then added,  “It’s also good for attracting squaws.”  An ad for ladies wear offered a regularly priced $8 “average-leg ‘Concertina’ pantie girdle of lightweight Lycra spandex with Maidenform’s exclusive ‘action insert’ panel” for the sale price of $6.  Smoked sliced bacon was $0.49 lb, garden fresh collards cost $0.07 lb, a 5-oz jar of “Chock Full of Nuts” instant coffee $0.83 lb, horse meat $0.25 lb., Pillsbury biscuits four for $0.37, ground beef $0.49 lb, and “plump and juicy winner franks” 12-oz pkg for $0.39.

And nestled away on A-11 were two short paragraphs telling us that Miss Irene Mosely had just gotten married.

 

I started sleuthing into Irene’s life because I saw the story had a never-ending ending, any number of private wells of sorrow.  I also wondered how some people can rationalize any belief—this time something as bizarre as such a lopsided wedding—as reasonable and acceptable.  What I learned is that some stories don’t come with instructions.  One person’s little footprint of earth can quickly change or even disappear, corkscrewing the surroundings, making old spaces unfamiliar.  Irene’s story was the prose of estrangement.  Your view of its many twists and turns depend on the angle you tilt your head.

I have tried in vain to locate anyone going by the name Irene Mosley Napier in Covington.  I have no idea whether she had remarried.  Imagine the first names she could have given herself: Dolores, Maggie, Carlotta, Claudia, Maria, Maya.  I can only guess whether they are alibis, pseudos, or indictments?  Maybe some harmony in there, too, to give her music.  If she’s still alive she’d be around seventy-one now, just a little younger than I am.

In trying to make sense of Irene’s plight, my wish for her is that she found herself in the end.  I think of the old song, “Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene, I’ll see you in my dreams.”  I hope Irene discovered someone to love her madly, is without pain or discomfort, is not haunted by habits of worry, has plumped up, keeps the good aromas wafting out of her kitchen, stays warm in winter without the need to layer up in bulky sweaters, and has plenty of pots to catch the rain drops if she has any holes in the roof over her head.  Maybe that’s enough.

David Evans

I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one remaining dog.  We've decided no more dogs and cats.  Losing them is just too painful.

Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I now have the chance to revisit the many people and places that have enriched my life.

The good folks at Wesleyan College in central West Virginia guided me to a graduate degree in fine arts in early 2018.  My plan is to use some of the skills I learned from two years in this creative writing program to tell my story.

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Power http://likethedew.com/2018/12/09/power/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/09/power/#respond Sun, 09 Dec 2018 11:00:24 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70117 The dogs in the pen outside the old farm house always got fidgety just before it happened. They yelped, barked, howled. And you finally heard it; the faint train whistle and distant rumble like a long ocean wave. Then louder, pounding until the whistle was piercing and the rumble was a roar that drowned out the dogs.

The train never slowed as it faded into the distance, returning us to the still dark of our night.

My grandmother holding my granddaughter and her great-great-granddaughter, Evelyn.
My grandmother holding my granddaughter and her great-great-granddaughter, Evelyn.

That train in the night is one of my earliest childhood memories. But it is more than that. It is the beginning of a consciousness of the powerful and transient nature of this life. Those of us in this room feel it more deeply today because we share the influence of this wonderful woman. Nanny never used the metaphor of a speeding train to describe our time here, but she showed it to all of us in the way she lived.

She had a deep and abiding love for her husband and her three girls and that love only grew as the family grew. She loved them as adults the way she loved them as babies. They were hers, and their families became hers. Nanny worked. She cooked, cleaned, sewed clothes and served the church. And her faith was at the center of her life. It was from that faith that everything flowed. She sat at the breakfast table and read the Upper Room every day. She didn’t just attend church, she did all the hard work that nobody sees, from visiting the sick to sewing pew cushions. And she taught Sunday School and kept a prayer group together until the other members had passed away and left her alone.

I can remember visiting often as a child. Nanny could not conceal her joy when all her daughters were in the room singing and cutting up as we watched the Lawrence Welk Show. Later, she would laugh as she proudly said that she had three daughters on Social Security. And every grandchild, great-grandchild and great-great-grandchild in this room have seen that same joy.

Nanny lost Papa more than 30 years ago. She told me once that she had come in from working in the yard in the heat and just started talking to the chair where he used to sit before she realized he wasn’t there. And she sat with my mother as her oldest daughter’s life drained away through a ruptured aneurysm. It was the only gift she had left to give her girl.

Life is difficult, so it is hard work. Nanny knew that. She knew that when we answer the call to be the body of Christ, the literal hands and feet of Jesus on this Earth, we decide we are willing to do the most difficult thing; to put ourselves aside and to dedicate our lives to changing this world, to rebuild it as God would have it. Once she made that commitment, she never wavered. Nanny was a driven, powerful woman. The power of that train, which inspired awe in me as a young child, pales in comparison.

She would occasionally repeat a saying her grandmother imparted to her: “This life, and another and then a potato patch to dig.” Nanny said her grandmother had no idea what it meant. And, frankly, it has confounded our family for years. But today I’ll take a stab at it: If you live life as God would have you live it, there is always plenty of work to do. And there’s joy in it. It means it’s never over. It means Nanny is still working.

Bill Caton

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Zin and the Art of Planetary Maintenance http://likethedew.com/2018/12/05/zin-and-the-art-of-planetary-maintenance/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/05/zin-and-the-art-of-planetary-maintenance/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 13:05:03 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70095 Trolls. She’s watched it so many times, she knows it by heart. In the early 1990s, long before Zin was born, I was starting to worry about the impact of the greenhouse gases we were belching into the atmosphere and the plastic litter that we sent floating down the rivers and into the seas. I wrote a song about our dangerous notion that we could consume and pollute all we wanted and then, if things got really bad, just fly away. It began:

The planets and the stars Will not be ours Except, of course, to dream on For all our Star Trek fantasies This island Earth will be our home

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I’m writing this for my granddaughter, but I’m not telling her. I don’t want her to be scared.

Zinnia is 6 years old. She’s small for her age but otherwise precocious. She reads like a fourth grader and trampolines like a jumping bean. Other kids her age may make “yuck” faces at sight of spinach or broccoli, but Zin already relishes oysters, kalamata olives and “stinky” cheeses. Her favorite bedtime lullaby is “The Sounds of Silence,” which I thought was beyond precocious until her dad explained that the Simon and Garfunkel song is featured in her favorite movie, Trolls. She’s watched it so many times, she knows it by heart.

Zinnia picks fruitIn the early 1990s, long before Zin was born, I was starting to worry about the impact of the greenhouse gases we were belching into the atmosphere and the plastic litter that we sent floating down the rivers and into the seas. I wrote a song about our dangerous notion that we could consume and pollute all we wanted and then, if things got really bad, just fly away. It began:

The planets and the stars
Will not be ours
Except, of course, to dream on
For all our Star Trek fantasies
This island Earth will be our home

Our space-travel capabilities have improved in the intervening years, but we still haven’t found a destination planet enough like our big blue marble to covet or developed the means for even a search party to get there.

In the meantime, we’ve created a floating plastic garbage patch twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean. We’re experiencing record high temperatures. Hellish wildfires are raging from California to Sweden, and hurricanes and typhoons are growing in size and intensity.

As if these inconvenient truths weren’t frightening enough, there’s a new report out from the US Global Change Research Program. Released on shopaholic Black Friday, of all days, it warns that if we don’t significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the annual average global temperature could increase nine degrees Fahrenheit or more, compared with pre-industrial temperatures, by the end of this century. The Congressionally-mandated report, compiled from the work of a dozen federal agencies, predicts increasingly calamitous weather that will endanger lives around the world. It also puts the cost of inaction in business-unfriendly greenback terms, estimating that the cost of unchecked climate change could reach hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

The year 2100 seems a long way off. Most of you who are reading this will be long gone when that new millennium is rung in. I surely won’t be around. But Zinnia and my other grandchild, Jackson, will be around to suffer for our short-sightedness and stupidity. So will billions of other kids here and around the world.

Zin is just beginning to figure out what she wants to do with her life. Maybe she’ll become a fitness trainer like her mom or a radio producer like her dad. Maybe she’ll be a doctor or a chef or a scientist or a maker of animated films like Trolls. Maybe she’ll have kids herself. I want her to have those opportunities. I want her to be living on a planet at least as beautiful and diverse and healthy as the one I grew up on – and, if at all possible, better.

No challenge we are facing or issue we are dealing with today is more important than our acting like responsible, caring adults and implementing every measure we can imagine to limit further physical deterioration of the only planet we have.

Not gun control or reproductive rights. Not Latin American immigrants or North Korea’s nuclear weapons. The environment. Our environment. Our incredibly complex, life-giving, life-sustaining, shared environment.

We need to do this whether we believe we’re God’s appointed stewards or simply because we recognize it’s suicidal to foul our nest. Pick your rationale, but make reversing damage to the Earth a personal and political priority.

We were making encouraging progress not that long ago, prioritizing cleaner energy sources, discouraging pollution, setting aside nature preserves both land and sea. Now, under new “leadership,” we are in spiteful retreat. There are those among us, including some rich and powerful people, who insist that the dire warnings of scientists like those who compiled the Fourth National Climate Assessment are a hoax or an anti-capitalist plot.

The former claim is an absurdity that would require a conspiracy of millions of scientists who’ve never met. The latter ignores the commerce to be engendered and the profit to be made from cleaner industry.

If the scientists turn out to be wrong, we will still be living a cleaner, healthier world as the 21st Century speeds along. If they’re correct in their predictions and we’ve allowed our leaders to shirk their responsibility, our children and grandchildren will be facing a rising tide of misery.

I would accuse the deniers of playing Russian roulette with our little ones’ lives, but that analogy overestimates the odds in our favor if we don’t act.

Noel Holston

Noel Holston

Noel Holston, originally from Laurel, Miss., is a freelance journalist, songwriter, storyteller and actor who lives in Athens, Ga., with his wife, singer-songwriter Marty Winkler. In a previous life, he was the TV critic at Newsday in New York and, before that, a critic and feature writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Orlando Sentinel.

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On Giving Tuesday, Donate To Colleges, But Not The Usual Suspects http://likethedew.com/2018/12/05/on-giving-tuesday-donate-to-colleges-but-not-the-usual-suspects/ http://likethedew.com/2018/12/05/on-giving-tuesday-donate-to-colleges-but-not-the-usual-suspects/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 13:04:47 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70101 gifts were up six percent in 2017 over the previous year.  But if you do plan to give money to a college, don’t give it to one of the “usual suspects,” the same schools which are loaded with endowment dollars, yet charge students a bundle to still go there.  Give it to one of those schools where they invest heavily in student education, as opposed to non-academic infrastructure. MarketWatch cited a report from the Council for Aid to Education, revealing that nearly one in three dollars donated goes to just 20 colleges.  And there are an estimated 5,300 institutions of higher education, according to a 2015 article published by The Washington Post.]]> Donating to colleges on “Giving Tuesday” is a great idea, and a growing trend.  In fact, such gifts were up six percent in 2017 over the previous year.  But if you do plan to give money to a college, don’t give it to one of the “usual suspects,” the same schools which are loaded with endowment dollars, yet charge students a bundle to still go there.  Give it to one of those schools where they invest heavily in student education, as opposed to non-academic infrastructure.

MarketWatch cited a report from the Council for Aid to Education, revealing that nearly one in three dollars donated goes to just 20 colleges.  And there are an estimated 5,300 institutions of higher education, according to a 2015 article published by The Washington Post.

Of course, this list of 20 include a lot of prestigious Ivy League schools and other big-name colleges, along with a number of state universities.  The top ones on the list include Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, M.I.T., USC, Johns Hopkins, Penn, Columbia, Yale, Duke, Notre Dame, Chicago and NYU, as well as state schools like Washington, Michigan, Berkeley, UCLA, UC-San Francisco, Ohio State and Indiana.  Most of these institutions are already loaded.  The rich are getting richer.

At the same time, a series of small liberal arts colleges with church ties are closing their doors, while other state schools are slashing programs and professors, and online colleges are closing campuses.  Some very deserving institutions are being overlooked, more for the lack of a good P.R. programs (which the wealthier schools can afford, and use to their benefit).  It hardly seems helpful.

#GIVINGTUESDAYPerhaps this year, would-be donors to higher education can spread the wealth around, putting it to where their dollars can be maximized for the greatest effectiveness.  Here’s what I would recommend, if you are thinking about opening up your checkbook for a college.

First, think about what is the money going to go for.  Sure a name on a piece of infrastructure looks nice.  I think anyone who donates deserves to have their names enshrined somewhere on a college campus.  It’s the least a school can do.  But have it on something that’s connected to the learning process, like a program.  Your name can go on the building hosting it.  But don’t have it on some “lazy river” or one of those gaudy distractions from studying.  Have it tied to the education process.

Second, go beyond the traditional top 20 rankings when looking at where to donate.  If you think about it, will your money be better appreciated at a school already on the mountaintop, or one climbing to get there?  Look at those rankings of value schools, or colleges in your region striving serve more than just the most financially-comfortable students in the country.  How many of those students at that college you’re looking at helping are Pell-eligible, meaning those who need financial help to complete that degree.  Georgia State University is one of those programs which is converting hard-luck students into success stories, and their leadership team has been recognized nationwide for doing so.

Third, and most important, find ways to serve those students who serve others.  You’ve probably heard about hungry college students, trying to make the grade while looking for their next meal.  So students like Hannah Mow with Colorado State University have sought to make a difference with the program “Rams Against Hunger,” connecting local Food Banks with needy collegians.

And there are also students in campus programs who are using their talents to help the local community.  One of my students at LaGrange College, political science major Nick Rawls, did just that.  He and his fellow students, campus leaders in a program called “Servant Scholars,” heard about the “Little Free Pantry” idea, and sought to pitch it to the local government.

“You’d love it, Dr. Tures,” Rawls animatedly told me about his big presentation before the LaGrange City Council.  “We used scientific research and data to back up our arguments, just like in class!” said this Division III Football player, who was the lead presenter.  At a time when small communities across the country were banning this helpful idea, the local government approved the college students’ proposal.  And among these wooden boxes of goods throughout the town, there’s one on campus in case a student on campus struggles to make ends meet.

Rawls, who also presented at academic conferences and even had a chance to work the Super Bowl in Minneapolis with his Sports Management Professor, landed a job with the Atlanta Falcons.  You can now find him as a Senior Account Executive with the Georgia Swarm, Atlanta’s lacrosse team.

Rawls and his fellow Servant Scholars are able to help with local anti-poverty programs thanks to a generous donation from Atlanta business leader Jerry Wilkinson.  There’s a sign in front of the building that houses these dynamic students which displays the name “Wilkinson Family Servant Scholars Program,” to show who helps these helpful students.

Rice University in Houston, Texas, is another school worth a look. I attended a presentation by their professors as they demonstrated their sophisticated program that connects students with a series of servant learning clients to connect their classroom experience in the service of the community.  It’s a major reason why the school has a strong ROI (Return on Investment) nationwide.  Other schools with an ROI as good as those schools who dominate in donations include Washington & Lee, Lehigh University, Washington University of St. Louis, and Tufts.

Whether it’s a public college like Georgia State University or Colorado State University, or a private college like Rice, other ROI schools, and even our institution which offer good value while helping the community, don’t follow the herd on donations on #GivingTuesday.  Give where the dollars are needed, and can have the biggest bang for the buck.

John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.

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Hunter/Gatherers and Socialists http://likethedew.com/2018/11/19/hunter-gatherers-and-socialists/ http://likethedew.com/2018/11/19/hunter-gatherers-and-socialists/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 12:59:15 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70083 Sapiens includes a statement that humans were better off as Hunter/Gatherers than the resulting mess civilization has produced. I decided I could make a weekly newspaper column from that information. Nothing controversial there, so I expounded on that subject in my witty, homespun way. A lady quickly responded, taking issue with my musings. She accused me of posing as a “good ole’ country boy” while supporting socialism. She suggested my hidden beliefs were against the founders’ intention and claimed I’d disappointed her. Deciding to ignore my instincts and reply, I first stated my good old boy cred, born on my parents’ bed, picked cotton, and frequented outdoor restrooms. I then reminded her that many current good old boys aren’t too supportive of our founder’s principles.]]> A book I recently read called Sapiens includes a statement that humans were better off as Hunter/Gatherers than the resulting mess civilization has produced. I decided I could make a weekly newspaper column from that information. Nothing controversial there, so I expounded on that subject in my witty, homespun way.

A lady quickly responded, taking issue with my musings. She accused me of posing as a “good ole’ country boy” while supporting socialism. She suggested my hidden beliefs were against the founders’ intention and claimed I’d disappointed her.

Caveman reading SapiensDeciding to ignore my instincts and reply, I first stated my good old boy cred, born on my parents’ bed, picked cotton, and frequented outdoor restrooms. I then reminded her that many current good old boys aren’t too supportive of our founder’s principles.

I added that socialism had become scary thanks to Fox News, and my column had no political meaning. I then said she had disappointed me by making everything about politics. I assumed that was that.

Within a day, another email arrived from the lady, turning up the heat. She demoted me from socialist to the ultimate conservative evildoer; a liberal. She also mentioned that her father had been a WWII fighter pilot and if he were alive he would give me a good talking to.

I endured a restless weekend thinking of my response. My dad was also in WWII; a gunnery sergeant in the Pacific that fought against Japanese soldiers in his sleep until his last breath.

We battled each other in the Sixties during my teenage years, while the world around us was disintegrating. When my first son was born, we made peace.

I decided there was nothing worth arguing over important enough to threaten our relationship. I’m sure he did the same. He died at 82. Neither of us had to deal with any regrets. Just emptiness.

My father grew up in a segregated world and changed much during his lifetime. I haven’t considered him much during this latest political divide in America. It wasn’t relevant. I know he wouldn’t watch Fox News, or be swayed by racist sentiment. I’m positive he’d be completely embarrassed by our current president for two reasons, if nothing else.

During the presidential campaign, a supporter gave Trump his Purple Heart. Donald not only accepted it but bragged onstage that night about “not having to do anything” to get it. When he canceled a trip to the American soldiers’ cemetery during Veteran’s Day weekend because the weather was bad, I wasn’t surprised.

The other issue for my father would be Trump’s complete disregard for truth. Dad considered lying to be the ultimate personal sin. I can’t imagine him supporting someone that didn’t hold honesty sacred.

I eventually decided to ignore the woman’s latest volley. No one listens to anything contradicting previous held beliefs anymore. Any reply by me would have resulted in her doubling down. I don’t need to hear any more of that.

But it is sad. Grown people, good people, are being manipulated by long held fears, evolutionary tribalism, and identity politics, warping history to suit their own beliefs. The belief that Liberals are against the Founding Fathers’ ideals is especially ridiculous. And now that my father has been brought into this, I can’t imagine those soldiers, our Greatest Generation, fighting to protect what currently comes from the White House. I hope we find a way out of this idiocy.

I’m running out of benign material.

Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.

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Those Who Love America Are Jewish Now http://likethedew.com/2018/11/14/those-who-love-america-are-jewish-now/ http://likethedew.com/2018/11/14/those-who-love-america-are-jewish-now/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:35:35 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70075 smell Jewish,” he spat. As we struggle as a nation to respond to the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, I am reminded by the words of President Barack Obama.  In 2016, he spoke at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, where he had just participated in a special ceremony honoring Americans and Poles for saving Jews during World War II.  “An attack on any faith is an attack on all of our faiths,” he told the audience.”]]> At my hotel in Tampa, as a graduate student attending a conference, I was accosted by a young man who eyed me suspiciously.  “You are a Jew,” he announced.

“Actually, I am not,” I replied, though my black fedora, black blazer, black pants, white shirt and beard led friends in college to call me “Rabbi” as a nickname.

He glared at me.  “I know you are Jewish,” he replied. “You smell Jewish,” he spat.

Burning candles on cemetery at nightAs we struggle as a nation to respond to the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, I am reminded by the words of President Barack Obama.  In 2016, he spoke at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, where he had just participated in a special ceremony honoring Americans and Poles for saving Jews during World War II.  “An attack on any faith is an attack on all of our faiths,” he told the audience.”

He told the story of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, locked away in a Nazi POW Camp during World War II.  When given the order to separate the Jewish soldiers from their fellow U.S. captives, Edmonds refused, declaring “We are all Jews.”  Fearful of retribution from the American armies, the Germans decided not to shoot.

President Obama’s not alone in his support of Jewish people.  Leaders of both political parties, in the past, have taken a tough stand against attacks upon Jews.  As President Ronald Reagan said in a speech to Temple Hillel in 1984, “All of us here today are descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, sons and daughters of the same God.  I believe we are bound by faith in our God, by our love for family and neighborhood, by our deep desire for a more peaceful world, and by our commitment to protect the freedom which is our legacy as Americans.”

Reagan continued “You know, when you talk about human life, I think that means seeing that the immeasurable pain of the Holocaust is never dehumanized, seeing that its meaning is never lost on this generation or any future generation, and, yes, seeing that those who take our place understand: never again.”

I wish it really were “never again.”  But the Pittsburgh shooter got plenty of inspiration by the modern sources of hate, perfectly willing to tolerate another mass killing to satisfy their thirst for political advantage.  And it’s not the pathetic explanation Kellyanne Conway gave, where she claimed “late night talk show hosts poking fun at religion” fueled the killings.

One can disagree with George Soros’ support for Medicaid expansion or Michael Bloomberg’s gun control measures.  But when some networks and sites falsely accuse such men of financially supporting a caravan from Honduras, simultaneously packed full of gangsters, Arab terrorists, and infectious diseases, it’s easy to see how such lies could motivate a shooter obsessed with such “invaders” to go online and rant on the alt-Right site “Gab” and target the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), first in posts, and then with bullets.  Soros is used by the far right as the Jewish boogeyman the same way Nazis used the name “Rothschild” as conspiracy theory and excuse for so many attacks.

But for those of us who reject such hate and bigotry, as Obama Democrats and Reagan Republicans, and independents who reject such anti-religious hate, let us all be like Master Sgt. Edmonds and say “We are all Jews” too.

John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.

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Our Equestrian Past http://likethedew.com/2018/11/14/our-equestrian-past/ http://likethedew.com/2018/11/14/our-equestrian-past/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:16:11 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70020
The Old Hitching Post

For most people in this country, riding a horse is an act of recreation, not transportation. Riding a horse is a choice, not a necessity. I’ve ridden a horse maybe five times in my life. Didn’t care for it. Many times, however, I rode Granddad’s mule, a rough ride without a saddle, but I’ve never had to depend on a horse to get from point A to point B. I never had to worry about feeding a horse nor worry about tying up a horse like they did in the old westerns. I park and get out.

Back in the wild, Wild West, a gunslinger would swing off his mount, throw the reins around a post, and saunter into the saloon for a shot of whiskey. Soon, gunshots rang out and someone would throw a bad guy out a window. Well, no worries about the horse bolting and running. It was hitched. Going nowhere.

Over the last month, two book events brought our equestrian past to light. In Laurens, South Carolina, I came across a hitching post right by Highway 76. That post, slender but stout, had rust running down it from where an iron ring impaled it. That the post existed surprised me. Some folks decided to save this old hitching post, and for that I thank them. Seeing it made me imagine a dusty trail, no powerlines, no asphalt. No noisy engines. No fumes save currents of air off fresh road apples. No gas stations and no sharing the road with tanker trucks.

I was in Laurens, by the way to speak about the surprises you see along the back roads. And there I found a surprise by a busy modern highway, a hitching post from the old days.

Thanks to an invitation from Bob Blair, another book event took me to the Coleman-Feaster-Mobley Reunion in the vicinity of Blair and Shelton, South Carolina. A lot of history lives there. Old homes, old churches, and an old school. In front of the old Feasterville Female and Male Academy (circa 1840) stands a stone column with lichens upon it. Chiseled into it is Col 44. Translation: It’s 44 miles from this upright stone marker to Columbia. How natural and simple compared to the giant road signs we see along the interstates.

44 Miles To Columbia SC

Rocks endure, and so stone artifacts of how folks used to travel remain. In McCormick you’ll see stones embedded in the earth near a rail track. These flat stones served as steps from the steam-driven iron horses to the site of the original Keturah Hotel. In some forgotten ruins of an old plantation in Edgefield County you’ll see a block of stone women used to step from into horse-drawn carriages and stagecoaches. Imagine a lady raising here hoop skirt to enter the coach. Like a scene from a movie.

What strikes me about these stone relics of times before cars is their quaint character. Quarried from the earth, they needed no lights, no paint, no plastic. They didn’t tower over the land because horseback riders traveled close by. Riders weren’t miles away on a four-lane highway. Situated by a trail, the words didn’t have to be monstrously big. I’ll wager that nearby cool spring water slaked travelers’ thirst and the occasional fruit tree provided sustenance. I’ll wager, too, that yesteryear’s horseback riders were nowhere as obese as today’s fast-food interstate travelers are.

Yeah, things change and a lot of folks say the good old days weren’t that good. I get it, and I’m not about to trade my car for a horse, but I sure appreciate the quaint and simple way things worked back then. People sitting in saddles, carriages, and stagecoaches saw the land up close, and they saw it before bulldozers and asphalt brought blight to it. And, besides, what they say is true. You can’t miss what you never had. Horses worked just fine until that Ford fellow came along.

Tom Poland

Tom Poland, A Southern Writer – Tom Poland is the author of fourteen books, 550 columns, and more than 1,200 magazine features. A Southern writer, his work has appeared in magazines throughout the South. Among his recent books are Classic Carolina Road Trips From Columbia, Georgialina, A Southland, As We Knew It, Reflections of South Carolina, Vol. II, and South Carolina Country Roads. Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s Official Folk Life Drama, staged his play, Solid Ground.
He writes a weekly column for newspapers and journals in Georgia and South Carolina about the South, its people, traditions, lifestyle, and changing culture and speaks to groups across South Carolina and Georgia. He’s the editor of Shrimp, Collards & Grits, a Lowcountry lifestyle magazine.
Governor McMaster conferred the Order of the Palmetto upon him October 26, 2018 for his impact upon South Carolina through his books and writing because “his work is exceptional to the state.”
Tom earned a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Media at the University of Georgia. He grew up in Lincolnton, Georgia. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina where he writes about Georgialina—his name for eastern Georgia and South Carolina.<br /> Visit my website at <a href="http://www.tompoland.net">www.tompoland.net</a><br /> Email me at <a href="mailto:tompol@earthlink.net">tompol@earthlink.net</a></p> Visit his website at www.tompoland.net Email him at tompol@earthlink.net

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Election Results in Gwinnett County Offer Glimpse of Blue Wave http://likethedew.com/2018/11/14/election-results-in-gwinnett-county-offer-glimpse-of-blue-wave/ http://likethedew.com/2018/11/14/election-results-in-gwinnett-county-offer-glimpse-of-blue-wave/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 13:19:09 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70065 election results from Gwinnett County offer a glimpse of a blue wave. Gwinnett County, located in the northeastern suburbs of Atlanta and home to nearly a million people, has long been a bastion of Republican dominance predominantly reinforced by white flight from the city of Atlanta beginning the early 1960s. As a point of reference from the 2012 Presidential election, the county favored then Republican candidate former Governor Mitt Romney 53.76% over then Democratic President Barrack Obama 44.56%. Four years later, d]]> While campaigns and pundits debate the merits of a Democratic Party “blue wave” in this week’s midterm elections, the initial election results from Gwinnett County offer a glimpse of a blue wave. Gwinnett County, located in the northeastern suburbs of Atlanta and home to nearly a million people, has long been a bastion of Republican dominance predominantly reinforced by white flight from the city of Atlanta beginning the early 1960s. As a point of reference from the 2012 Presidential election, the county favored then Republican candidate former Governor Mitt Romney 53.76% over then Democratic President Barrack Obama 44.56%. Four years later, during the the 2016 Presidential election, the county favored Democratic candidate and former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over now President Donald Trump 50.20% to 44.41%.

The gubernatorial race between now resigned Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and former Democratic Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams has yet to be called. Also, yet to be determined is the U.S House race in Georgia District 7 between four-term Republican incumbent Rob Woodall and Democratic challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux. As of 11/11/18 (2:55 pm EST), only 901 votes separate Woodall and Bourdeaux, in a District that Woodall has carried by at least 20% since 2010.

Historical Results Georgia 7th Congressional

Georgia House of Representatives: Gwinnett County

Prior to Tuesday’s election, of the 16 Georgia House Districts, Republicans carried a majority of 10-6. After the election, Democrats now carry an 11-5 majority. In other words, 5 seats flipped to Democratic control.

Georgia House of Representatives: Gwinnett County

Georgia Senate: Gwinnett County

In a similar trend as the House, two Senate seats flipped to Democratic control. Of the seven Senate Districts that encompass Gwinnett County, five are controlled by Democrats.

Georgia House of Senate: Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County Offices

Board of Education
Before the election, the sole Democrat on the Board of Education was Louise Radloff of District 5. She had been a Republican since election to the Board in 1973, but in 2012 changed to the Democratic Party. The District 2 seat, held by Daniel Seckinger will remain in Republican control with the election of Steve Knudsen. The District 4 seat, held by Republican Robert McClure will flip given the election of Democrat Everton Blair, Jr.   

Solicitor General
Incumbent Solicitor General Rosanna Szabo, who has held the position since January 2007, was defeated by Democratic candidate Brian Whiteside.

Board of Commissioners
Two incumbent Republicans on the Board of Commissioners were defeated by Democratic challengers. District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard was defeated by Ben Ku. District 4 Commissioner John Heard was defeated by Marlene Fosque.

Jeffrey Albertson

As a thinker and political scientist, my interests are public policy (Labor, Social Security solvency, and Financial Services Reform) and social-contract political theory. Additionally, I post news analyses, book reviews, and reviews of historical events. I invite you join me on Twitter (@_JAlbertson) to follow regular updates.

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The Boys Club http://likethedew.com/2018/11/12/the-boys-club/ http://likethedew.com/2018/11/12/the-boys-club/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:33:08 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70055 Khinkali (fat Georgian dumplings), Khachapuri (cheese topped bread) and the grilled chicken with nuts and garlic, washed down with Georgian red wine. The Aragvi Restaurant at 6/2 Tverskaya Ulitsa, Moscow opened in 1938 during the Stalin era as a State-owned restaurant. Stories suggest the Aragvi was built or opened by Lavrenty Beria, head of Stalin’s secret police and also from Georgia, to bring Georgian food to the capital. The restaurant was within walking distance of the Lubyanka and at night senior members of the NKVD (KGB), in their drab suits, filled the cellar bar drinking vodka and Georgian wine. It was their “Boys Club”.]]> I missed the reopening of my favorite Georgian restaurant in 2016 after it had been closed for thirteen years. The restaurant changed owners and chef, brought back its famous Georgian dishes and replicated the interior to revive the Cold War image and recapture its infamous past. It has been forty-three years since I tasted the Khinkali (fat Georgian dumplings), Khachapuri (cheese topped bread) and the grilled chicken with nuts and garlic, washed down with Georgian red wine.

The Aragvi Restaurant at 6/2 Tverskaya Ulitsa, Moscow opened in 1938 during the Stalin era as a State-owned restaurant. Stories suggest the Aragvi was built or opened by Lavrenty Beria, head of Stalin’s secret police and also from Georgia, to bring Georgian food to the capital. The restaurant was within walking distance of the Lubyanka and at night senior members of the NKVD (KGB), in their drab suits, filled the cellar bar drinking vodka and Georgian wine. It was their “Boys Club”.

Cellar of the Aragvi Restaurant, Moscow
Cellar of the Aragvi Restaurant, Moscow

My early visits to Moscow, in 1972 and 1973, were interesting but unsuccessful commercially. In 1972, the Cold War was in its twenty-sixth year, President Richard Nixon had travelled to the USSR for talks with Leonid Brezhnev and business opportunities were opening up in all the Eastern European countries. I travelled to Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia for discussions with their Government import agencies about the sale to them of bulk minerals.

Before my visits to Moscow I was briefed on things to avoid – exchanging US dollars for local currency and selling prohibited Western goods on the black market and visiting illegal night clubs. Foreigners and the few senior Russian officials who had access to foreign currency were able to buy imported goods at the State-run Beriozka stores and pay with US dollars, Pounds Sterling or German Deutschemarks but ordinary Russians were not. A thriving black market existed in the streets near hotels where foreigners stayed and outside the Beriozka stores. The popular items on the black market were imported liquor, wine, beer, cigarettes, food items, electronics, appliances, watches, shoes, denim jeans and foreign currency. I was approached many times in the streets with offers to change money at an attractive exchange rate and one night a waiter in the hotel dining room slid a US$20 note under my plate. He said his brother was in the Russian Army, loved American cigarettes but couldn’t buy them, so would I buy a carton of cigarettes at the Beriozka for him. I left the table with the $20 still under the plate.

Another piece of advice was to assume that all hotel rooms, apartments, offices and telephones used by foreigners were bugged. To test this I complained to the reading lamp in my hotel room that there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. Minutes later the housekeeper appeared and handed me a roll of toilet paper. On another day, while talking to a contact at the Embassy from the phone in the hotel room, a voice interrupted to ask if we would hold the conversation for a few minutes while they changed the tape. We knew we were followed by men in black leather coats, our telephone conversations were recorded and attempts would be made to entice us into illegal activities. They were some of the games The Boys played.

Travel to and within the USSR in 1972 and 1973 was organized by the Russian Intourist Bureau. After arrival at Sheremetyevo International Airport foreigners were escorted to a car for transportation to an assigned hotel. In 1972 I was sent to the towering landmark hotel Leningradskaya on Komsomolskaya Square. Travel around Moscow was arranged by hotel staff and use of local taxis and the subway was discouraged. All foreigners at the hotel dined in a separate restaurant to restrict contact with the local population. The hotels used by foreigners had a “hard currency bar” where only guests and visitors with hard currency could drink imported liquor, wine and beer. The local beer, liquor (except vodka) and wine was not drinkable. In the hard currency bars a good shot of Scotch cost US$5 and the customer slipped the five dollar note into a slot in a box on the bar. The staff did not handle the hard currency so no change was given. If the customer only had a $10 note then that was the price for the Scotch. I soon learned to buy two drinks each time.

Moscow, 1973: Photograph Ken Peacock
Moscow, 1973

After the unsuccessful business trip to Moscow in 1972 I returned the following year, flying from Vienna to Moscow on Austrian Airlines to avoid traveling on Aeroflot or one of the Eastern European airlines. I was assigned to a smaller hotel, the Metropol, near Red Square. Arrival at Sheremetyevo Airport was more interesting than the previous year. When I presented my passport, the same one used the previous year, the young Army officer looked at it carefully before asking me to accompany him to a room at the side of the arrivals hall. His English was limited but he made it clear he believed my passport was false and pointed to the number (H 80) printed on the second page. He then pointed to the number that was perforated at the top of each page (H 000080) and said “The number is different!” I tried, without success, to convince him that in the English language H 000080 and H 80 were the same. After half an hour of questioning about my real name and why I was visiting Moscow, and requests for the names of family in the USSR, a senior Army officer entered the room. He listened to the young soldier, inspected my passport, and whacked the soldier across the face with it before handing it back to me. As he opened the door for me to leave he muttered something that sounded like “stupid idiot”. The brief visit to Moscow was no more successful than the first but I became more adventuresome in exploring the city and its restaurants.

In June/July 1974 President Richard Nixon travelled to Moscow to meet with Leonid Brezhnev and in November President Gerald Ford continued the dialogue and met with Brezhnev at Vladivostock. President Ford met Brezhnev again at Helsinki in 1975, the Vietnam War had ended and the Cold War was slowly becoming warmer.

I visited Moscow again in late 1975, encouraged by a former Government trade official who had worked there in the Embassy before he joined a company specializing in trade with the USSR. He was Russian-speaking, had served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, his second wife was Russian and he had close ties to the intelligence organizations, perhaps on both sides of the Curtain. He was handsome, charismatic, always immaculately dressed and a generous host with a fine taste in food, wine and cars. “Bill” reminded me of the easygoing, charming character with strong social connections in John Le Carre’s novel “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” which I had read earlier in the year.

Light snow covered the ground when the Pan Am flight landed at Sheremetyevo Airport. I passed through immigration and customs, after handing over my copies of Sports Illustrated and the New Yorker magazine, and walked into the arrivals hall where Bill was waiting. He had arranged a room for me at the National Hotel near Red Square, helped with the check-in and foreign exchange desk formalities, handed my bag to a hotel porter and ushered me to his office on one of the upper floors. He said we needed to talk before the guests arrived for the cocktail party. We brushed past a burly man in a drab suit leaving Bill’s office pushing a trolley with a new American-made refrigerator. Bill explained it was a gift for one of his contacts. The party, organized for government officials to meet me prior to our discussion the following day, included the female cabin crew from the Pan Am flight. Bill suggested after the business meetings next day he would show me some of Moscow’s nightlife.

It was bitterly cold the next evening when we left the National Hotel and walked along Tverskaya Ulitsa to the Aragvi Restaurant. The restaurant was in a building dating back to the early 1700s near the monument to Prince Yury Dolgoruky in Tverskaya Square. In the 1800s the building was converted into a hotel named the Northern and later the Dresden. It was extended upwards in the 1900s and government offices were established on level one. Lavrenty Beria had an office there and in 1938 the Government converted some of the offices and stores into the Aragvi Restaurant. It was the only Georgian restaurant in Moscow. In 1975 the Aragvi was still a popular meeting place for senior members of the NKVD and the Russians who frequented Moscow’s illegal nightclubs.

We passed a long line of men in heavy coats and fur hats waiting in the snow for a table or seat at the cellar bar and Bill knocked on the solid black wooden door. The door was partially opened by a surly doorman and Bill said something in Russian I didn’t understand. The man opened the door so we could step inside and another unhappy-looking man ushered us down the stairs to a small table along the limestone wall. The padded stools at the bar were occupied by men in drab suits, silently watching us as we were shown to our table. The air was thick with foul cigarette smoke and the smell of cheap booze. After the waiter left with our drink orders (vodka) Bill put a finger to his lips and with the other hand pointed to the lamp on the table. Like everyplace else, the tables in the restaurant were bugged.

The faces at the bar turned away from us and the noise level increased as conversations resumed. At the ends of the bar were men drinking and smoking alone. Kim Philby, who lived nearby, was often at the bar drinking alone. He was not there that night. Philby was a Soviet agent who worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS and formerly MI6) for thirty years. He was a member of the notorious “Cambridge Five” who passed UK and US secrets to the Russians from 1933 until he defected to the USSR in 1963. In 1968, Philby’s autobiography My Silent War was published in the UK but not in the USSR until 1980, eight years before his death in Moscow. Phillip Knightly wrote in the “Introduction to the 1989 Edition of My Silent War” that his interviews with Philby in 1988 were at Philby’s apartment “within sight of Red Square” and at a “secure Georgian Restaurant”. The secure restaurant was the Aragvi.

The menu was in Russian so Bill ordered dinner and the wine for both of us. He insisted I try the Khinkali, Aragvi chicken and the Khachapuri. After a few shots of vodka and a shared bottle of red Georgian wine I was happy to call the night quits but Bill had other plans. A short taxi ride took us to the rear of the huge Rossiya Hotel near Red Square. Bill knocked loudly on the solid wooden door and an eye appeared at a small peephole. Some money was slipped under the door and it swung open to let us in to a crowded and noisy room with a large dance floor and a bar. We had to shout to be heard. Bill asked if I was carrying any US dollars and when they appeared we were ushered to a small space at the bar. The dollars disappeared, replaced by large shots of vodka poured by a buxom Russian woman.

Moscow, 1973: Photograph Ken Peacock
Moscow, 1973

I returned to the National Hotel sometime in the early hours of the morning to get some much- needed sleep and prepare for the next round of meetings. On each floor of the hotel, near the elevator, a large person sat at a table with the room keys set out in front of her. I pointed to my key and she walked me to the room, unlocked the door and looked inside – checking that I was alone and had sufficient toilet paper.

The meetings with Government officials in their drab clothes at a drab building were long and polite but unsuccessful. The Soviets still did not have access to the necessary hard currency to cover regular large shipments of raw materials and I was not interested in being paid in oil or in using an international trading company. Bill was no help as he imported meat, butter and wheat to the USSR and exported Stolichnaya vodka and other Russian goods. The visit in 1975 ended without success and several years later I heard that Bill’s trading company had failed and was wound up with a huge debt and unpaid tax. He had left the USSR to live in a secluded place where he could enjoy his lifestyle and luxury cars, and died in 1987 at the young age of 57 years.

Sheremetyevo Airport was snowed in and I spent the night sitting in the huge, empty departure lounge waiting for my flight to arrive. It was illegal to take Russian currency out of the country or into the departure lounge so my few remaining US dollars barely covered a warming vodka or two. The uniformed cockpit and cabin crew for my Aeroflot flight were enjoying themselves in the bar and by morning were barely able to walk to the departure gate when flights resumed. I watched them board the aircraft and was relieved when they sat among the passengers on the IL-62 to New Delhi and Bangkok where I transferred to a Thai Airline flight. The movie shown in the cabin of Thai Air was the 1975 Oscar winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It seemed an appropriate ending to my visit to Moscow.

The Boys Club still exists but meets at a different place, and it is no longer necessary for the KGB to bug hotel rooms, restaurants, offices and apartments; or try to catch foreigners selling hard currency and imported goods on the black market. As John Le Carre said: “The mentality that is operating in Russia now is absolutely….no different to the mentality that drove the most exotic conspiracies during the Cold War. It worked then, it works now.” (New York Times, Sunday Book Review August 25, 2017. Spies Like Us: A Conversation With John Le Carre and Ben Macintyre. By Sarah Lyall, a writer at large for The Times). What has changed is the technology, the introduction of social media and use of the internet to compromise and manipulate people.

Ken Peacock

Ken Peacock

Ken Peacock, a former senior Australian executive of a mining company, first visited China in 1972 at the end of the Cultural Revolution and before diplomatic recognition by the Australian and US Governments. This was the first of many visits to China during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, he traveled throughout China with a trade delegation and revisited Shanghai where he stayed at the Shanghai Mansions Hotel and discovered the “Last Bottle of Gin in China”.

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Should You Vote For Marsy’s Law? http://likethedew.com/2018/11/06/should-you-vote-for-marsys-law/ http://likethedew.com/2018/11/06/should-you-vote-for-marsys-law/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 17:15:07 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70048 One of the greatest elements of a democracy is the right of citizens to vote on the laws themselves, as opposed to a republic where representatives do the lawmaking. In the Fall of 2018, voters in several states will get the chance to decide where victims should also have constitutional rights as much as the accused, in a Constitutional Amendment known as Marsy’s Law. More than two-thirds of both houses of the Georgia General Assembly supported putting it on the ballot for the Georgia voters to decide.

According to Ballotpedia, Georgians, Nevadans, Oklahomans, and Kentuckians will vote this November on a bill that would give victims of crime more rights. Constitutional Amendment 4 reads “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide certain rights against whom as crime has allegedly been perpetrated and allow victims to assert such rights?”

If it passes, Paragraph XXX would be added to the Georgia Constitution. These rights include victims being notified of court proceedings, right to notice of the accused’s arrest, release or escape, the right to be included in court proceedings, the right to be heard in court including such proceedings such as a release, plea or sentencing, as well as being informed of such rights. This does not mean the victim can appeal a criminal court decision, challenge a verdict or sentence, or any participation as a party to the dispute other than filing a motion.

Supporters of Marsy’s law include Henry Nicholas, who donated more than $300,000 to pass the law. It was his sister, Marsy, who was killed in California in 1983. The top suspect, her boyfriend, was arrested then released, only to threaten Henry and his family in a store a few days later. Actor Kelsey Grammer has recorded commercials in support of Marsy’s Law.

According to WDRB in Louisville, Kentucky (another state voting on the bill), Marsy’s Law allows victim safety to be considered at bail hearings.

“No rapist should have more rights than the victim,” wrote Marsy’s Law supporters from Georgia in USA Today. “No murderer should be afforded more rights than the victim’s family…Increasing the rights of victims will not at all diminish the rights of the accused.” With such protections, victims like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford might have been more willing to come forward and confront their attacker if a Marsy’s Law had been in place years ago.

Democratic State Representative Bob Trammell of Georgia also supports the bill. “In our criminal justice system today, the accused and convicted receive constitutional rights, but the people harmed by crime do not.” He noted that Georgia is one of only 14 states without constitutional rights for crime victims.

But not all back the bill. “Much of what Marsy’s law is designed to do is weaken the rights of the individual accused,” said the Executive Director of the Institute of Compassion in Justice, according to WDRB. And that’s something Judge Kavanaugh’s supporters are likely to bring up. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation noted that the law would increase costs given the need of victims to have attorneys and support staff, lead to some false accusations by purported victims, and the loss of the presumption of innocence by the accused, as noted by Ballotpedia. The ACLU pointed out that much of Marsy’s Law is already part of Georgia law and that the real focus should be on mass incarceration and long jail sentences.

Whatever your position, it’s important to recognize your rights to have a voice on the bill. Elections aren’t just about electing the lawmakers. On November 6, 2018, it’s your turn to be the lawmaker, exercising your constitutional rights to do so for state law.

John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.

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Tom Poland Receives Order of the Palmetto http://likethedew.com/2018/11/05/tom-poland-receives-order-of-the-palmetto/ http://likethedew.com/2018/11/05/tom-poland-receives-order-of-the-palmetto/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:55:57 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=70026 South Carolina author, editor, and speaker Tom Poland has received South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto.

Left: South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto; Right: South Carolina author, editor, and speaker Tom PolandFirst awarded in 1971 by Gov. John C. West, the honor is bestowed in recognition of a person’s achievements and contributions to the state. Poland received the award Friday, November 2, at the State House.

As the author of several major books on South Carolina, Poland is a significant voice in heralding the unique heritage of the Palmetto State and its natural beauty. He travels back roads, looking for forgotten places, captivating people and vestiges of bygone times, many of which appear in his works. They include South Carolina—The Natural Heritage; South Carolina—A Timeless Journey; and Reflections of South Carolina, Volumes I and II, all published by the University of South Carolina Press, as well as well as Classic Carolina Road Trips and South Carolina Country Roads, published by the History Press of Charleston. Another book, The Mystique of the Carolina Bays, will be published by USC Press in 2019. He authored Transforming South Carolina’s Destiny, the history of the technical college system, and Save the Last Dance For Me, the history of the shag and the Society of Stranders. The University of South Carolina Press published Georgialina, A Southland As We Knew It, of which Pat Conroy wrote, “Tom Poland brings the fading and forgotten rural South back to life with a deeply felt reverence for the power of story to preserve our shared past.”

A resident of Columbia since 1974, Poland was an adjunct professor for 20 years at the University of South Carolina, College of Information and Communications. A former editor of South Carolina Wildlife Magazine, his articles appear in numerous regional periodicals and newspapers. A member of the South Carolina Humanities Speakers Bureau, he is invited frequently to give presentations on state culture and history. He also serves on the SCETV Advisory Council.

Currently, Poland is editor of Shrimp, Collards and Grits, a lifestyle magazine published in Bluffton. He has been published in more than 1,200 magazine features and columns. A native of Lincolnton, Georgia, he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia. Poland’s family traces its ancestral roots to South Carolina’s Edgefield County.

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