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Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Southern Weather Radar


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    all tangled up

    Death, Race and Irony in South Carolina

    by | 22 hours ago
    Death, Race and Irony in South Carolina

    There have been hundreds of thousands of words written and spoken about the unspeakable tragedy of the nine people gunned down at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. In time, there will be many more; books will be written and countless analysis will be presented seeking to find some meaning in what happened. In time, the events of the tragedy will become a permanent part of the history of Charleston and our people, indeed the whole state and nation.

     

     

    seem a fetish

    Between Pistols and Prozac

    by | 22 hours ago
    Between Pistols and Prozac

    There is a store in the North Georgia Mountains called “Drug and Gun.” I’ve been meaning to revisit the shop to ask the cashier if customers buy their anti-psychotic drugs before or after they buy a gun. But when I walk in and see the word “prescriptions” behind the gun counter, I ask the clerk jokingly, “Do I need a prescription to buy a gun?” A man behind me says, “actually that would be a good idea. “ And I agree: if Americans need a prescription for Prozac, why not for pistols?

    But there is one problem: changing the mind of people entrenched in a culture of guns.

     

     

    institute index

    Charleston church massacre puts spotlight on South Carolina’s gun violence problem

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    Charleston church massacre puts spotlight on South Carolina's gun violence problem

    Number of people killed by gun violence in South Carolina from 2001 to 2010 alone: 5,991

    Percent by which that exceeds all U.S. combat deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined: 15

    Rank of South Carolina among all states for aggravated assaults with a firearm: 2

    For the rate of women murdered by guns: 4

     

     

    non-violent action

    People of Charleston showed the way out of tragedy

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    People of Charleston showed the way out of tragedy

    Not only that, but that this move to bring the Confederate flag into the discussion would be one that reverberates all across our country, making that symbol of the Old South a new rallying cry for all sorts of people of this country? Who would have thought?

    In effect, it was the human heart speaking to our country, recognizing the sufferings of the people of Charleston, and in particular, the suffering of black people. We remember how our country has itself suffered from those who won’t give up a lost cause….one that brings division, not union, to our nation.

     

     

    beneath the american flag

    Finding My Heritage in the Long Shadow of Lincoln

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    Lincoln Memoria by Daniel Chester French licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lincoln_Memorial.jpg

    That my first visit to the Lincoln memorial in 48 years would bring tears was unexpected. Yet on a sunny September Sunday in 2012, at the feet of his massive marble likeness, staring solemnly upon the chiseled words of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, salty drops dot my face.

    There is poignancy simply in standing where I scampered a lifetime ago as an unknowing four-year-old. But, my tears this day are for something more immediate – at least for me. This moment, the text of our 16th President’s second inaugural speech, and especially his Gettysburg Address fall this day upon a heart still moved by a different visit two days prior.

     

     

    breakfast over hard

    Ham n’ Angry

    by | Jun 29, 2015
    Charleson Massacre

    “Ol’ Obama knocked it outta the park yestiddy didn’t he?”

    “Sumbitch always does. He always does.”

    “Big O was fuckin’ magnificent in Charleston. I can’t believe he actually sang ‘Amazing Grace.’ I think he knew Clementha Pinckney…”

    The conversation was on-going at a table across from where I’m taking refuge from ominous weather. As near as I can tell, their names are Stan, Roy and Tommy. All three are African-American. They are gray-beards, firmly ensconced in the demographic labeled ‘active seniors…

     

     

    marriage equality. life.

    Outlaws no more!

    by | Jun 26, 2015
    Outlaws no more!

    Thomas Wolfe was wrong: We can go home again!

    As two Suthunahs living in exile in New Joisey — one from Georgia, the other from Alabama — we share a photo essay of our 41-year marriage  which today the Supreme Court made legal in every state of the union.

    Samuel A. Ward  was organist and choirmaster of our parish in Newark, NJ, when he wrote “America the Beautiful.” “Thy fruited plane” indeed. “Thy liberty in law,” Amen.

     

     

    marriage equality

    Let No Man Put Asunder

    by | Jun 26, 2015
    The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by DonkeyHotey via his Flickr photo stream and used under creative commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

    I recognize some Americans still feel threatened by gay marriage. I don’t understand that fear, but I respect it. I also respectfully suggest if you believe gay marriage is about what happens in the bedroom, you really don’t understand marriage at all.

    I’m 55. I don’t remember my age when I first realized I had gay friends in high school. It’s certainly not something anyone was open about at the time. It wasn’t something we talked about.

    But, I remember the moment I knew it was wrong to deny two loving, committed people the same respect we give married couples solely because they are the same gender.

     

     

    never forget

    The Charleston Massacre

    by | Jun 25, 2015
    The Charleston Massacre

    My wife and I attended An Evening of Prayer Tuesday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Pawleys Island. The special event was an ecumenical vigil for the victims of the Charleston massacre on June 17 at Emanuel AME Church at the hands of a moral idiot.

    For some reason, the vigil brought to mind the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, one of the most famous openings in all of literature: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” …

     

     

    extra syllables?

    What Makes Southern Writing “Southern?”

    by | Jun 25, 2015
    Dahlonega by Wayne Hsieh via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.

    This spring, my wife and I recently spent a lovely weekend in Dahlonega, Georgia. For the uninformed, Dahlonega is a small town just over an hour north of Atlanta in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Dahlonega is best known for the gold rush that started there in 1828, when rich veins of the stuff were discovered in the area. It was the second significant gold find in the young United States, and within three years, Dahlonega’s population soared to some 10,000, almost all of whom were seeking their fortunes in the rocks and caves and streams of the region.

     

     

    more than bad for business

    Confluence of factors drive momentum to take down flag

    by | Jun 25, 2015
    Confluence of factors drive momentum to take down flag

    The S.C. General Assembly put the Confederate battle flag in a place of prominence on the Statehouse grounds. Now after nine deaths in the horrendous Charleston church shooting, the legislature must take it down. Today, as the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the slain Jasper County Democrat and pastor of the church, lay in honor at the Statehouse, imagine the feelings of those who had to pass the Confederate flag before they paid their last respects.

     

     

    monopoly capitalism

    Four Steps That Can Help End Unemployment and Poverty Now

    by | Jun 24, 2015
    Four Steps That Can Help End Unemployment and Poverty Now

    More than seven years after the Great Recession began in 2007, many Americans are still struggling to put their economic lives back together. Factors such as low wages, high interest rates on credit cards and a mediocre job market continue to make a lot of families feel like the recovery passed them by. It doesn’t have to be this way.

    The main cause of our troubles is monopoly capitalism, which is a system dominated by giant companies that charge high prices, pay low wages and extract huge productivity from employees.

     

     

    are we there yet?

    Awesome Ways to Keep Kids Happy

    by | Jun 24, 2015
    Awesome Ways to Keep Kids Happy

    I clicked on this topic, interested to expand my ingenuity to distract children on a long drive or transatlantic flight. We played games to keep five boys from fidgeting and fighting during road trips when my (now middle aged) sons were small, growing up in England. We visited distant grandparents, camped in France and Spain in a Hiace van because we couldn’t afford air fares for seven…

     

     

    grief and fear

    Wellspring of Tears

    by | Jun 24, 2015
    Charleston Massacre by Lee Stranahan via flickr and used a Creative Commons license.

    The Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote many years ago in The Second Coming that,

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

     

     

    race rant

    Just who the hell are we?

    by | Jun 23, 2015
    Just who the hell are we?

    First, yeah this is long, but just maybe, it’s time for long, cuz it’s been a long time comin’.

    I suppose it all started with Michael Jackson and his desire for a “white” nose, which didn’t turn out so well. Why a really handsome, very talented guy would willingly fuck up his face is truly beyond me. Michael was said to have lightened his skin, while Rachel Dolezal is said to have darkened hers.

     

     

    time for action

    Open the door of the race closet

    by | Jun 23, 2015
    CBS News anchor Scott Pelley prepares Thursday to broadcast from outside the church.

    Most South Carolinians don’t know a lot of out-of-the-closet, vociferous racists. They’re probably around, just like they have been since two people who didn’t look like each other first met. But in our society — here and in other states — they generally live on the fringes.

    A hundred years ago, racism was institutionalized in the South with Jim Crow laws and separate but equal schools.

     

     

    people will die

    When Disgraceful Political Conduct Becomes Acceptable

    by | Jun 23, 2015
    Tea Party Gap by DonkeyHotey via flickr and used a Creative Commons license

    As the American public recognizes, our political system has become dysfunctional. A big component of the problem is that disgraceful political conduct has become acceptable, and is often even rewarded. The rejection of Medicaid expansion by the Republicans in many states in which they have the power is a case in point.

    That includes my own state of Virginia, where the Republicans in the General Assembly have steadfastly rejected Medicaid expansion. It is hard – perhaps impossible – to find a way that this rejection is good for Virginia for its people.

     

     

    racist act of terror

    Keep your prayers, Nikki…

    by | Jun 22, 2015
    Dismantle Hate, Black Lives Matter (Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Charleston Mother Emanuel AME Church Shooting) - by Light Brigading

    These past few days I have been frantically trying to wrap my brain around the slaughter of nine African-American men and women at the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston S.C last Wednesday night.

    The crime was heinous, profane and an extreme act of cowardice. It was pre-meditated, mindful and calculated. Above all — it was a racist act of terror.

     

     

    incomprehensible

    Charleston shooting brings sadness, shock, anger, frustration

    by | Jun 22, 2015
    Dozens of bouquets lined a sidewalk Thursday outside Emanuel AMC Church in Charleston. The display board still lists the late Sen. Clementa Pinckney as the church's pastor.

    As I headed to bed Wednesday night, a white gunman shot and killed nine people in an historic black church in the center of town just four blocks from where I used to live. Unaware of the evil, sleep came quickly. But in the wee hours, the ping of a text from an Australian colleague woke me. I didn’t want to read it and tried to go back to sleep. But after tossing and turning, I read the text, only to learn the heart-wrenching news about what was going on a few miles away. I was dazed.

     

     

    southern life circa 1944

    The Day That Eulene Tried to Commit Suicide

    by | Jun 21, 2015
    The Day That Eulene Tried to Commit Suicide

    While I, Louie Crew Clay, narrate the story as if fiction, it actually is nonfiction and I have changed only the names. I wrote it to expose to myself as to any readers the arrogance racism taught me. Childhood is not all that “innocent” when the privileged teach our young to devalue and disrespect others. I hope that by my preserving the privileged little boy’s insensitivity, we will see what he saw but with our thinking caps on and our eyes wide open.

     

     

    bin-yah

    Reflections of a Southerner on Fathers’ Day

    by | Jun 20, 2015
    Reflections of a Southerner on Fathers’ Day

    I did not personally know the beautiful souls who were massacred while gathered in prayer with a stranger at Mother Emanuel on June 17, 2015, but I can’t stop weeping.  In part, my tears are the product of troubled introspection.  I am a proud southerner with deep roots.  My father has always been puzzled by my “ancestor worship.”  My husband and children mock my addiction to ancestry.com with quips like,  “did you know Mom is 99.9% Anglo-Saxon and cousin of the Queen?”  But I can’t help but feel pride when I find another link on my family tree confirming my forefathers’ presence south of the Mason-Dixon line before secession.

     

     

    laudato si'

    Francis’ Momentous Encyclical: On Care for Our Common Home

    by | Jun 19, 2015
    Click for full text of Laudato Si'

    “We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are between stories.” — Father Thomas Berry

    I’m not Catholic. Nevertheless, fond of this pope, I’ve eagerly awaited the release of Laudato Si’, Francis’ encyclical on ecology and climate. Immediately after its June 18 release, I paged wildly through it and was blown away. Laudato Si’ is absolutely stunning in sweep, depth, and wisdom. It is exactly the right document, at the right moment, by the right person.

     

     

    confronting hate

    Soul Searching, Not Denial, Is the Way Forward from Charleston

    by | Jun 19, 2015
    Soul Searching, Not Denial, Is the Way Forward from Charleston

    With so many people professing concern for saving the souls of others, we have precious few willing to search their own. Facts about the Emanuel AME Church massacre in Charleston are yet unfolding, but political machinations to deny the obvious racial motives speak volumes about our society’s inability to confront this issue.

    The alleged actions of a hate-filled young white man accused by police of slaying nine black church goers in Charleston say nothing about me as a white man living in America.

     

     

    mystery of joy

    Eating Stones

    by | Jun 18, 2015
    The Celestial Rose by Gustave Doré (engraving, c.1868)

    As the ruffian used force to carry her out of the convent because her family needed her for an arranged marriage that would increase their fortune, this thirteenth-century nun and member of (St.) Clare’s Order of Poor Ladies of San Damiano saved herself and preserved her vows by suddenly and miraculously growing heavier and heavier. In the end, her assailant had to put her down and abandon the abduction. As he said, it was as though she had been eating stones.

     

     

    environmental paul revere

    Lester Brown and The Great Transition

    by | Jun 17, 2015
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    “You just can’t burn in one night, a million years of buried sunlight, and think you got it all for free.” — from lyrics of Long Has the Earth by Doug Hendren

    Discouraged by the demise of democracy and the rise of oligarchy? Incensed that our “leaders” don’t lead and won’t even follow the will of the vast majority, so beholden are they to the 1%? Demoralized that, as the earth’s climate spins out of control, Americans pretend to debate science that’s been settled for two decades?=

     

     

    walking, gates & police

    Car Culture

    by | Jun 17, 2015
    Car Culture

    Car culture seems to be waning in the U.S. Which is not to say that people are giving up automobiles, but that the cars are no longer determining how people live and express themselves. Cars are becoming more utilitarian, judged on their useful and practical attributes, whose appearance is not so much an expression of the driver’s psyche as a matter of taste. There is evidence that car culture is waning. A new study finds that urban sprawl, characterized by dead end streets and cul de sacs in neighborhoods has been decreasing since 1994.

     

     

    avatar of the silly people

    Mind Games

    by | Jun 10, 2015
    Mind Games

    You’ve noticed it, right? The triumvirate? The Big Three? Come on, try to name one. Yep, you got it: the impossibly adorable golden retriever. Another one? Right again: the acoustic guitar leaning against the wall. Third . . . easiest of all: a yoga class in the background. What do they add up to? Sales. Today’s mad men (and women) have identified these three cultural markers as bankable touchstones of the contemporary zeitgeist, as images of health and happiness that can be counted on to reverberate pleasantly in the shared subconscious of a key demographic — that is, people with money. Trying to sell financial security? Pain-relieving drugs? A new line of active-wear? Throw this shit at ‘em.

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



  • Also on the Dew

    Four Steps That Can Help End Unemployment and Poverty Now

    Four Steps That Can Help End Unemployment and Poverty Now

    By: Dr. Ravi Batra

    More than seven years after the Great Recession began in 2007, many Americans are still struggling to put their economic lives back together. Factors such as low wages, high interest rates on credit cards and a mediocre job market continue to make a lot of families feel like the recovery passed them by. It doesn’t have to be this way. The main cause of our troubles is monopoly capitalism, which is a system dominated by giant companies that charge high prices, pay low wages and extract huge productivity from employees. As a result, supply rises faster than demand and generates layoffs. So t  Read on →

    Finding My Heritage in the Long Shadow of Lincoln

    Finding My Heritage in the Long Shadow of Lincoln

    By: Maurice Carter

    That my first visit to the Lincoln memorial in 48 years would bring tears was unexpected. Yet on a sunny September Sunday in 2012, at the feet of his massive marble likeness, staring solemnly upon the chiseled words of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, salty drops dot my face. There is poignancy simply in standing where I scampered a lifetime ago as an unknowing four-year-old. But, my tears this day are for something more immediate – at least for me. This moment, the text of our 16th President’s second inaugural speech, and especially his Gettysburg Address fall this day upon a heart  Read on →

    People of Charleston showed the way out of tragedy

    People of Charleston showed the way out of tragedy

    By: Elliott Brack

    Recently a gunman walked into a church with intent to murder, cause mayhem and start a revolution against black people. Instead, his killing of nine church members brought people of all faiths and color together, finding even those closest to the people he shot to forgive him. God moves in mysterious ways. The rampage in Charleston, S.C., known as the Holy City, indeed turned the people of that city not toward recrimination and violence, but to love, grace and forgiveness. While shootings in other cities have turned into rioting and burnings of buildings, instead the people of Charleston saw another way. Their actions  Read on →

    Confluence of factors drive momentum to take down flag

    Confluence of factors drive momentum to take down flag

    By: Andy Brack

    The S.C. General Assembly put the Confederate battle flag in a place of prominence on the Statehouse grounds. Now after nine deaths in the horrendous Charleston church shooting, the legislature must take it down. Today, as the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the slain Jasper County Democrat and pastor of the church, lay in honor at the Statehouse, imagine the feelings of those who had to pass the Confederate flag before they paid their last respects. That flag shouldn’t be there today or in the future. A governor can’t take it down.  But the legislature can — either by a supermajority vote t  Read on →