Monday, October 5

More Guns are the Answer.

President Obama speaks out both sides of his mouth.
How can he counsel non-violence here at home, and heavy gun regulation, when he does just the opposite in other people's countries?

Does anyone see the irony when his administration simultaneously orders military strikes on a Doctors without Borders hospital in Afghanistan? Whether the rebels we are working for and rely on in the field called in the hospital as a target, it was American bombs and the ensuing fires that did the killing.*

As commander-in-chief, President Obama bears responsibility for the deaths.

It's nice that he gave another ineffectual but impassioned speech about gun control here at home after the killings in Oregon. But we are a culture that more and more does not respect the value of life. When your actions show that you believe in guns over humanity, and that Might Indeed Makes Right, it is awful hard to get people to believe you are sincere in wanting the killings to ever end.

“If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views," President Obama said, in a speech to the nation. OK:

Stop flooding other countries with guns and weapons, President Obama. Maybe... for every civilian killed abroad, one will be killed here at home. If we want justice and peace and reason to rule, we need our actions to back our words.

If you can't do it in your time remaining in office President Obama, at least spare us the speeches. Come out and talk to us about the ongoing American involvement in the Afghanistan war, and talk to us about how the nurses, medical staff, and patients were killed by the fires of our making...

“Each time this happens, I’m going to bring this up,” he said. “Each time this happens, I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it.”

Otherwise, please be quiet already. Make a mixtape, play with the pooches, greet schoolchildren. Just stop ordering military actions against civilians abroad, while pretending to preach peace here at home. Thank you and God Bless America.

* I just hope we are better than Israel, and don't try to gin up some story about how Taliban fighters operating within the hospital were a threat to American troops and thus the hospital had to be destroyed to protect our soldiers. Generally, the deception follows the violence, and President Obama appears to be no better than former commander-in-chief George Bush in his deadly military strategy.

What if... the media gave us the names, and we mourned those killed by our miliary this weekend, in the same way we are identifying and personalizing the dead civilian victims in Oregon? If we want to be a peaceful society, we should honor all lives, and make amends for those our military has wrongfully killed.

Better yet, we should keep our guns here at home, for defensive use only when our own homeland is threatened.

More: The unextractable circle of violence continues because Israel believes they can kill their way to a peaceful solution, instead of abiding by terms of treaties or confronting their religious extremists within.

Red Crescent medics had treated 465 Palestinians wounded in clashes throughout the West Bank since Friday, including 36 people treated for live fire. During the same period, she added, the Red Crescent had come under attack 25 times.

In two episodes, Jewish settlers smashed ambulance windows. In over a dozen other incidents, medical staff members were either shot at, wounded at demonstrations or physically attacked

America should not be following Israel's lead, because we don't live in their neighborhood, and we don't have the crimes on our hands that Israel will one day have to answer for... even if it means losing their homeland, because they are unable to achieve peace in the region, even with America's weaponry backing them every step of the way.

Thursday, October 1

It's the Most Wonderful Month...

of the Year!



Wednesday, September 30

We Told You So, Back in 2003.

The American soldiers are just beginning to see, no matter how powerful the weaponry and how deep the taxpayer pockets supporting them, this land was not our land and now is reverting to foreign forces.

I wonder if futility ever makes a soldier cry.

“It’s difficult to not feel a sense of meaninglessness. The feeling was already there regarding Iraq. My area of operations in Iraq is under ISIS control and now Kunduz via the Taliban. You wonder what all that effort and sacrifice was for.”

He paused, and then continued writing. “I always hated the GWOT/Vietnam comparison in the past,” he said, referring to the Pentagon’s official shorthand for the global war on terrorism. “But, now I can’t help but draw parallels. I wonder if this is the same feelings Vietnam vets felt watching as the South collapsed.”
Let's learn a lesson:
no more Bushes,
no more wars.

Defensive actions only, where the U.S. national security interests are at risk.

It's a time for reason, time to tell the big biceps, "You've had your time. It's... over."

Israel / Palestine ... heating up.

In another pro-war action,
Mahmoud Abbas tells the UN that Palestine is no longer bound by the Oslo accords. The Palestinians are tired of waiting in poverty for peace while Israel cheats and steals more and more land, with no permanent solution in sight.

Expect more innocent deaths on the horizon,
for that is the way we choose to play politics these days.

Boom! Now we got a war on our hands...

Thank heavens for the airstrikes, because it looks like the Afghan forces are willing to fight back to protect their country. As long as American soldiers are standing alongside them anyway...

U.S. coalition troops come under fire from Taliban in Afghanistan
The coalition troops were on a mission near the Kunduz airport, where hundreds of Afghan forces gathered after retreating from the city, when they were engaged by insurgents and called in an airstrike, the officials said.

Still waiting for Commander-in-Chief Obama to address the nation about the need for this military action re-committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan. What a fool, what a fool...

Once More, Into the Breach...

U.S. coalition troops sent to Afghan city to help fight the Taliban
For the first time, coalition officials publicly confirmed that they are actively involved in boosting Afghan troops in Kunduz, a city seized by the Taliban a few days ago.

Our commander-in-chief is committing forces to Kunduz, Afghanistan -- such a vital interest to U.S. national security. If Kunduz falls, and remains fallen, why will become of our American lives here at home?

The president will be addressing the nation at 10am, to sell the country on the need to go back in, boots on the ground, until all of Afghanistan is a fully functioning democracy. With schools and opportunities for girls, and an American Dream implanted in the heart of each little boy.

No word yet whether his fellow countrymen will back their president's call for ongoing war, to free Kunduz before Halloween comes, so all the children over there can trick-or-treat in safety.

Seriously though, doesn't President Obama have something better to do than to throw good after bad in Afghanistan. I'm kind of hoping and American soldier or two will have his life sacrificed there, so the country can again fully debate whether our minor interventions and peacekeeping -- at a cool distance -- are worth it.

After all, no war is won without joint sacrifice, and here is the president: taking time away from making his mixtapes to once again dabble in foreign wars. That is what we get for electing a junior senator who is an excellent campaigner, but a hands-off politician with zero military smarts, despite being elected on a one-mandate platform: Get. Us. Out.

Besides, if he didn't have Kunduz to clean up after, some people might question his committment to the killings in Chicago, which it definitely IS in our national interests to address and contain...

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war...

USA! USA! ... not.

U.S. Strikes Taliban-Held Land Near Kunduz Airport as Afghan Crisis Deepens

Militants claimed stretches of highway and continued to threaten the area, where hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been holed up.

It's too bad our president here at home is too weak to demonstrate the courage of his convictions.
Obama has been right in his ambivalence about getting deeply involved in Syria. But he’s never had the courage of his own ambivalence to spell out his reasoning to the American people. He keeps letting himself get pummeled into doing and saying things that his gut tells him won’t work, so he gets the worst of all worlds: His rhetoric exceeds the policy, and the policy doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Republican critics totally lack the wisdom of our own experience. They blithely advocate “fire, ready, aim” in Syria without any reason to believe their approach will work there any better than it did for us in Iraq or Libya. People who don’t know how to fix inner-city Baltimore think they know how to rescue downtown Aleppo — from the air!

Friedman, no foreign affairs genius himself, has been consistently wrong about US involvement in the Middle East, but here he is spot on. It is not the in the United States' national security interests to overthrow yet another dictator, leaving what remains of the country in shambles.

US -- stay out.
Let Putin handle this one, as it's much closer to home, and quite frankly: we have pressing domestic issues that still need addressing, even if our elite classes still think they can sprinkle money and pretend the country here at home is fine.

Short-term thinkers lose us big in the long-run.
See Bush, George W. and his legacy of freedome in Iraq and Afghanistan. (If only we could train MORE Syrians to fight for their own homeland, instead of volunteering American forces and weaponry, at such a cost to our homeland. But where there is no will, there is no way to win. There's a reason we don't want outside countries like US clamoring to join, finance, and "train" soldiers in a civil war.)

Do Black Lives in Chicago Still Matter?

At least 2,300 people have been shot in Chicago this year alone, according to the Chicago Tribune. According to their analysis, that's roughly 400 more incidents than during the same period in 2014. Homicides are currently up 21 percent in 2015, with the past two weekends pointing to a noticeable increase in gun-related violence.

"Wherever you live, you should be able to get out of your car and go to your home," Emanuel told reporters on Tuesday after receiving news of the increased violence continuing on Monday evening, leaving six dead and at least eight injured. "You can say this happened in the neighborhood of the Back of the Yards, but everybody (who) woke up this morning, or heard it last night, felt a pain of anguish.
Four people were killed and 52 wounded during shootings across Chicago over the weekend. After multiple weekends in a row of increased violence in the city, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is urging a fresh and more proactive approach.... The latest incidents, including the murder of a pregnant mother, come on the heels of two weekends in a row with more than 50 shootings in Chicago

Find the killers and lock 'em up, for a long, long time.
There are too many innocents looking to avoid violence, keep their heads down, and achieve a semblance of normal family life for us to politicize these killings, and recommend leniency for those who take the lives of others.

The bonds of violence can be broken, one by one, by reaching out to those who believe in reason over masculine strutting, who practice peace, and who do not accept the statistics above as status quo.

Unless something effective is done, some long-lasting multi-generational commitment to creating change, then we'll always have Paris Chicago.

ADDED: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, of course, had prominent ties to Chicago before settling to run the business empire from the Colonnades Hotel on Singer Island, the next barrier island north of Palm Beach.
Catherine T. MacArthur (1908-1981) was one of five children born to Irish immigrants who had settled on the South Side of Chicago. Her father was active in Democratic politics in the city, and served in appointive posts in both state and local government. At various times, he also owned and operated several retail stores.
I don't think the foundation is as savvy at coaxing results from their investment dollars as MacArthur was from his direct investments. Let's leave it at that...

ADDED: The trouble with accepting the black deaths as the status quo is that there is no guarantee the violence will be contained in the warring, off-limits gang neighborhoods. As the public housing complexes were emptied, and people with no idea how to live in a collective peaceful community moved south, the violence and gansta lifestyle travels with them.
The fallout over Chief Keef's canceled benefit concert in Chicago last weekend peaked today when the young rapper called out the city's mayor Rahm Emanuel with some choice words. "I was really shocked," Keef told Billboard about the concert being unceremoniously canceled by city officials. The hologram performance was planned as a benefit for two victims of Chicago's gun violence earlier this month. When Chicago officials banned the concert the hologram performance was instead moved over to Indiana's Craze Fest. Shortly after Keef's hologram performance began, the feed was cut, and the mayor of Hammond, where Craze Fest takes place, took all the credit.

“I don’t even know Chief Keef,” Mayor Thomas McDermott told Billboard. “But in my opinion, he glamorizes gang-lifestyle, anti-cop, anti-women, pro drug-use. This was a public venue and surrounded by a residential neighborhood. We don’t want to invite the possibility of some of the gangs that are terrorizing Chicago right now to come to Northwest Indiana.”
Of course, it always comes back to violence, including sexual violence, and braggadocio from these little men who have no concept in their community of how a responsible working Man takes care of his own, no special reparations needed.
Speaking about the lead-up to the performance and its eventual cancelation, Keef said, "[City officials] just be hating. They don’t want to see a young black man be successful and try to do something good. It’s crazy."

As for Keef's message to Rahm Emmanuel? "If you ask me, man," he said, "f**k the mayor with a sandpaper dick! Say it like that."

Tuesday, September 29

Nigger* Trash Talk'n Hisself.

Hoo boy!
It's a self-love fest over at the TNC Twitter feed tonight!

That boy is celebrating hisself -- his GENIUS self!
(I wonder if the foundation ever had one as self-congratulatory as this...)


* Sorry for the lack of trigger warning, but I never did buy Mr. Coates' NYT argument that white people are outlawed from using the word nigger, which floats so freely in our shared world today and is such a fitting description, when used in proper context.

(They ought to try finding a black woman genius next year, to avoid all the animalistic posturing and dick waving that Coates is publicly engaging in over there today. Tone it down day one, already, so you have something in the tank for the five-year ride?)

MORNING UPDATE: Looks like Sir GENIUS boy had some second thoughts. He's pinned a congratulatory Gwen Ifill tweet up over last night's dick-waggling fest, and the Oscar Wilde/James Joyce quotes aren't up on the front page anymore either.

"Back to Work": it will be interesting to see how far Coates will now advance his creative case for racial reparations with almost half a million dollars now backing his work.

No excuses now, with the wealthy whites bankrolling the work: It's put up or shut up time.
Can Coates make a credible and convincing case for reparations that the legal scholars were unable, mining the same research? All the day-after dick waggling, and "ME GENIUS, YOU SUCK" trashtalk don't make the convincing job any easier...

"Ta-Nehisi Coates ‏@tanehisicoates 12h12 hours ago
GENIUS can't be purchased. One can't simply pick up GENIUS at the supermarket. You either have GENIUS. Or you suck."
That's the insecure nigger in him still trash talking, all the way to the bank to cash the BIG man's check. (Like with Jesse Jackson -- read his biography/background if you haven't already--, I think the Coates black man has outmaneuvered his "movement". All about ... HIMSELF.

But that's cool. Paris is fine in the springtime, I hear.
Just don't expect to see him working the streets of South Side Chicago anytime soon. Win-ner!

Free Kunduz! ... (or not).

So the Pope has left the States, the president is before the UN promising to defeat ISIS, and the U.S. is back bombing in Afghanistan, trying to free the recently retaken Kunduz from the Taliban.

We learn nothing.

Oh, and Tehnisi Coates* is officially a genius because some rich white Chicago foundation people whose money will nev-ah run out told him so, poor guy. I wonder if he's read Ellison's Invisible Man, and understands what he's "won". Lol.

"Reparations at Last.
Reparations at Last.
Thank the White Man Almighty, fo his reparations at last!"

(He's likely never read Salten's Bambi either. As with President Obama's Nobel, those prizes likely slip on easily, like a nice collar from The Man.)

* Aw, he even changed his avatar and mission statement. "I'm on a mission that Dreamers say is impossible. But when I swing my sword, they all choppable." is catchy, sure.

But I really liked the double entendre intended (?) in his previous choice of Grant's quote: "I propose to move immediately upon your works." (I thought that was an acknowledgement to all the legal reparations scholars who for years had done the work that Mr. Coates popularized in his essay and "works". Clever! Nodding acknowledgement of owning his takings, so to speak...)

Monday, September 28

I Like this Kid's Anger...

Properly channeled, he is going to do something with it one day.  Something like this:

    "This is my response to presidential candidate Ben Carson," Yusuf Dayur began in a calm, soft voice.
    The 12-year-old Eden Prairie, Minn. middle-schooler paused. What followed next sounded like a politician responding to the president's State of the Union address.
     In two minutes and 20 seconds, Yusuf spoke about race, religion and slavery. He also announced his future candidacy for president of the United States.
     "Mr. Carson," he continued, sitting on a couch in his home, "what if someone told you that you can't become president because of your color? What if someone told you that you can't become president because of your race? What if someone told you can't become president because of your faith? And that's what you did to me."
    Yusuf, who was born in St. Louis Park, Minn., then talked about his desire since age 2 or 3 to become president. When he was in preschool, he said, "I would brag to my little, tiny friends that I'm going to be a president one day."
   Then he collected his thoughts and became a bit sentimental.  "You basically shattered my dream," he told Carson, "because you said that a Muslim person cannot become president."
He needs to work on perseverance, perhaps, and get some American history under his belt*, but he's got the delivery down, won't let the personal challenge pass, and that anger will serve to drive him, I'll bet.  Wherever he ends up.
"I will become the first Muslim president," he said, "and you, you will see that when I become president I will respect people of all faiths, all colors and all religions. It doesn't matter if they're Jew, if they're Muslim, if they're Hindu... if they're atheist. It doesn't matter if they're Christian, it doesn't matter if they're... if they still believe in Greek and Roman mythology, I don't care. They're still human beings and we should treat them with respect."

"And obviously," he told Carson, "you don't know what respect is.

"My name is Yusuf Dayur," he concluded. "And guess what? I don't care what you say because I will become president."
I think he'll be a local-control guy, if his comments on contemporary politics are any indication. For example, in the upper Midwest temperatures, young Yusuf has learned the fat in cheese is a good thing.
In an interview with MPR News, the Somali-American boy breathlessly talked about complex issues ranging from Iran's nuclear deal to First Lady Michelle Obama's push to make meals healthier in the federal school lunch program.

"They took away the cheese in our cheeseburgers and made them hamburgers instead," he said about the first lady's school lunches. "I really missed that cheese."

(click to enlarge.)
Yusuf Dayur, center, with his family -- sister Yusra, mother Shukri Abukar, brother Yasir, sister Yasmin, sister Tasneema and father Hassan Mohamed -- outside their home in Eden Prairie.


*  Many American-immigrant children, those whose ESL state achievement tests I've graded, seem to come away with the idea that Martin Luther King freed the slaves...  Go figure. (I think in the primary grades, students take the tests in the spring, after they have been saturated with the MLK/Abraham Lincoln, 1-2, Jan.-Feb. push in the curricula, instead of a more balanced, chronological history lesson that might make more timeline sense to absorbing minds.)

Sunday, September 27

Just a Beautiful Week...

Monday, September 21

Just Can't Keep 'em Down on the Farm...

Some people run away.
-- from hard work, cold weather,
the sheer monotony of life.
Some people run for president.
Scott Walker's headed on home
this harvest season. Kill the fatted calf.
"I Destroyed Unions, Peoples, Jobs,
and all I got was this lousy t-shirt?"

Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post:

Let’s go through this, phrase by phrase.
“Today”: so far, so good

“I believe that I am being called to lead”: Did Autocorrect change this from “I am being called to leave”?

“by helping to clear the field in this race”: “I am being called to leave.” (Also, “clear the field”? “Helping to clear the field”? Whom is he helping? Is this a Tom Sawyer fence situation where Trump is convincing everyone that “clearing the field” will be more fun for them than it is for him? What field is this? Is this field located in Iowa?)

“so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field.”: Again, what field has he been watching? Perhaps this explains his performance so far: He has been running for the GOP nomination in a parallel reality where there is a “positive, conservative message” just waiting for Walker to leave so that it can rise to the top of the field.

Saturday, September 19

Summer passes into autumn in some unimaginable point of time, like the turning of a leaf.
~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, September 18

Peggy Noonan on the Working Class.

Just a brief snippet, but still...
in the Wall Street Journal, nonetheless:

One of the candidates in one of the Republican debates Wednesday night evoked memories of "... the now-frayed connection between the American working class and a Republican Party that 35 years ago became their natural, welcoming home and later threw them over to tend to the causes of the donor class."

"What the GOP got in return was 5,000 donor votes and lots of money with which to make commercials the working class will find neither believable nor even interesting."

Jeb! cannot represent.
Donald can, and Hillary ... it remains to be seen.

No self-respecting working-class man, nor Catholic, nor fiscal conservative could ever vote another Bush to political office.

We can't afford the costs they collectively impose on the nation.
Journalists are now acclimating themselves to the new reality...

A few months ago they thought Mr. Trump and reality TV were climbing over the wall trying to get into the real world of politics.

Now they realize it’s journalists trying to climb over the wall into the new world of reality TV. That, he said, is now the real world of politics.

Thursday, September 17

Is It Really Better to Be Safe and Sorry?

Do not trust in princes, in mortal man,
in whom there is no salvation.

~Psalm 146:3

Glory and praise to our God,
Who alone gives light to our days.
Many are the blessings He bears,
To those who trust in His ways.

We the daughters and sons of Him,
Who built the valleys and plains.
Praise the wonders our God has done,
In every heart that sings.

In His wisdom He strengthens us,
Like gold that's tested in fire.
Though the power of sin prevails,
Our God is there to save...

Every moment of every day,
Our God is waiting to save.
Always ready to seek the lost,
To answer those who pray.

I will praise the LORD while I live;
I will sing praises to my God
while I have my being.
Do not trust in princes, in mortal man,
in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth.
In that very day his thoughts perish.

Choose Life!
(don't elect another Bush!!)

Wednesday, September 16


Lawrence Downes, of the New York Times, is working the Angry Americans beat today...

Because Mr. Trump is caustic and bombastic, many people find him delightful and refreshing. Late-night comedians have been praying for him to stick around, because the jokes write themselves.

But the problem with this particular clown is that his words are not clownish. The language he uses about immigrants is dehumanizing and vile. The audiences that adore him are animated not just by infatuation, but by the age-old catalysts of fear, resentment and hate.

This is what moves the Trump effect into the realm of the frightening, rather than amusing or fascinating.

When did that move happen? For me, it was his rally on Monday in Dallas, where he told an adoring crowd he was disgusted with what was happening to America. He called it “a dumping ground for the rest of the world.”

The garbage he was referring to is people, the same kind of people we describe more poetically on a plaque at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.
It’s not clear that Mr. Trump will end up with any power to pursue his racist agenda — his ambitions seem a lot narrower, more TV-based. But the toxic support he is stirring up, the polluted ideas he is spreading, the hate he is emboldening his supporters to voice with his blaring, surround-sound campaign — that evil will live after him.

We will be cleaning up after Mr. Trump for a long time.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke reassuringly to a Latino group on Tuesday, saying that Mr. Trump and his fellow Republicans were taking pages from an old playbook that always fails.

“This will pass,” he said. This “sick message” has been tried on America before, and we always — “always, always, always, always” — overcome it.

Yes, we do, but it keeps coming back, and keeps doing damage.
Mr. Trump has made the nativists restless, on a national scale. Those in media and entertainment who are distracted by his comedic potential are missing the point. Jimmy Fallon, doing a skit with Mr. Trump, normalizes his toxic message, with giggles. (I’m hoping that Stephen Colbert, who has Mr. Trump on his show next week, will do better at avoiding this moral trap, but I’m not holding my breath.)

The Trump effect leads to a question I’ve been pondering. Is politics like physics, where adding gas to a container creates pressure and heat? If you keep pumping inflammatory speech into the public discourse, do you eventually get ignition?

People Get Ready

People get ready
There' a train a-coming
You don't need no baggage
You just get on board

All you need is faith
To hear the diesels humming
Don't need no ticket
You just thank the Lord

People get ready
For the train to Jordan
Picking up passengers
From coast to coast

Faith is the key
Open the doors and board them
There's room for all
Among the loved the most

There ain't no room
For the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all mankind just
To save his own

Have pity on those
Whose chances are thinner
Cause there's no hiding place
From the Kingdom's Throne

So people get ready
For the train a-coming
You don't need no baggage
You just get on board!

All you need is faith
To hear the diesels humming
You don't need no ticket
You just than, you just thank the Lord

I'm getting ready
I'm getting ready
This time I'm ready
This time I'm ready
~ Curtis Mayfield.

Tuesday, September 15

As Summer into Autumn slips ...

As Summer into Autumn slips
And yet we sooner say
"The Summer" than "the Autumn," lest
We turn the sun away,

And almost count it an Affront
The presence to concede
Of one however lovely, not
The one that we have loved --

So we evade the charge of Years
On one attempting shy
The Circumvention of the Shaft
Of Life's Declivity.

~Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, September 8

The Angry American Beat?

Perhaps Dean Baquet ought to consider it,
as an offset to the Top 1% beat that was recently proposed, and apparently enthusiastically accepted...

Seriously, I'm not a paid consultant charging thousands or anything, but I think what The Times ownership is missing is that -- if they ever were "America's paper", that role has been seriously lost in this age of the diversification and division of media into separate identity groups. The Times is an elite mouthpiece now, serving its primarily wealthy liberal New York readers what they want to read about, paid for by advertisers selling products that are laughingly out of reach to everyday citizens.

The comments skew liberal, and out-of-touch with everyday concerns.
The TImes -- in its quest to be all things to all people, with the transgender coverage just the latest over-the-top crusade -- has lost the ability to hear people. And that's a dangerous thing for a journalist to lose.

Pity the loss.

President Donald Drumph Trump.

It appears to be his office race to lose...

Sunday, September 6

Football followup.

Go 'Cats.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin got rolled.

Choose Life.

A DC reporter finds an awful lot to like in rural Minnesota:

The high point of the tour for me was a kayak trip down Red Lake River, which meanders through the county before meeting with Clearwater River in Red Lake Falls and eventually emptying into the Red River along the Minnesota-North Dakota border.

The river was a ribbon of tranquility slicing through the green-gold late August landscape. Broad and flat, but with just enough elevation drop to keep things interesting for this novice kayaker, the river carried a group of us smoothly through the pylons of a defunct railroad trestle and downstream toward sandy bluffs that rose 50 or so feet above the banks.
I’m looking out my back window here,” (Red Lake County official Chuck) Simpson continued while talking on the phone Wednesday. “I’ve got a doe and two fawns eating out there right now. Is this ugly? I’ve got hummingbirds flying around the cotton pickin’ place!”

Friday, September 4

No Matter where it's Barren...

a Dream is Being Born!

~ Jim Steinman, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Make the a great Labor Day weekend, readers!

(To me, it's the third greatest American secular holiday, behind Thanksgiving and Independence Day!!!)

Thursday, September 3

Didn't Anybody Pay Attention in History Class?

or, Using History as a Weapon for ... Revenge.

I don't quite understand why editorials like this one, and last week's column by Charles Blow about Emmett Till's death, are being taught as if the writers are just learning the details of history.

Didn't everyone learn about Emmett Till in 7th grade American history, or was that a Chicago-area thing? Ditto today's NYT editorial. Are some portions of the population just learning that blacks were once enslaved in this country? Is this knowledge new in some way?

Even in the early 20th century, civil rights groups documented cases in which African-Americans died horrible deaths after being turned away from hospitals reserved for whites, or were lynched — which meant being hanged, burned or dismembered — in front of enormous crowds that had gathered to enjoy the sight.

The Charleston church massacre has eerie parallels to the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. — the most heinous act of that period — which occurred at the height of the early civil rights movement. Four black girls were murdered that Sunday. When Dr. King eulogized them, he did not shy away from the fact that the dead had been killed because they were black, by monstrous men whose leaders fed them “the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism.” He said that the dead “have something to say” to a complacent federal government that cut back-room deals with Southern Dixiecrats, as well as to “every Negro who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice.” Shock over the bombing pushed Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act the following year.

During this same period, freedom riders and voting rights activists led by the young John Lewis offered themselves up to be beaten nearly to death, week after week, day after day, in the South so that the country would witness Jim Crow brutality and meaningfully respond to it. This grisly method succeeded in Selma, Ala., in 1965 when scenes of troopers bludgeoning voting rights demonstrators compelled a previously hesitant Congress to acknowledge that black people deserved full citizenship, too, and to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Along the way, there was never a doubt as to what the struggle was about: securing citizenship rights for black people who had long been denied them.
Are the writers so passionate because they are only learning these historical details now? Is the goal to keep blacks of today in their place, forever shackled to their past role in American history? Why do well-meaning (I think) wealthy white people want to encourage anger over past history, what most people take in as educational material, not a personal slight passed down through the ages?

Every culture overcomes.
It's the American way, especially.

I understand the anger and nihilism of a Te-Nehisi Coates, for example. Ill educated, raised by a former black panther at-home father, with little formal religious teaching and a deliberate rejection of communal holidays... he IS just learning some of historical facts of his roots, and he burns up the pages sharing what he's learning.

People buy it too.

But the rest of us?
The supposedly representative NYT board?

Don't they understand, history class is where we report details of days part, that's why it is called history. American history, black and white. Newspapers are for current events, what is taking place out there today. Reporters write on bird-cage linings, not books. Journalism of the times passes into history, and we learn facts without the accompanying emotion or passionate interplay.

You can't rewrite history, no matter how hard you try.
And you can't breathe life back into either, changing things.

You have to learn, preferably early, to accept your history lessons, and learn from them.
It's sad that the lack of education in so many places leads to such unchanneled ignorance that fuels anger.

Today, nobody's being lynched, for example.
That's not news. But you are getting calls -- and responses -- like what happened last week in Minnesota at the communal annual celebration, welcoming everyone. No lynchings on the program. You can't shield your eyes to that, those current events.

No matter how much you dredge up ugly history, and try to make a posterboy -- today -- of a long-dead child, who likely would never have supported calls to kill officers in his memory, historical or otherwise.

Refugees Plead With Police in Hungary. ................. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Obama Dances With Alaskan Children

Headlines of the Day...

(Hard to worry about global warming, when globally, we're seeing dead babies washing up on seashores.*)
* I guess I'm just not properly desensitized to such images yet.

Images of Aylan Kurdi's body on a Turkish beach have heightened global attention to a wave of migration, driven by war and deprivation, that is unparalleled since World War II. They are also raising pressure on governments to be more welcoming to refugees fleeing the horror that Syria has become.

Aylan's aunt, who lives in the Vancouver area, had sought to get Canadian refugee status for her relatives in the Syrian town of Kobani, which was devastated by battles between Islamic State and Kurdish fighters, legislator Fin Donnelly told The Canadian Press. Donnelly submitted the application on the family's behalf.

Canadian immigration authorities rejected the application, in part because of the family's lack of exit visas to ease their passage out of Turkey and their lack of internationally recognized refugee status, the aunt, Teema Kurdi, told the newspaper the Ottawa Citizen. It said she is a hair stylist who moved to Canada more than 20 years ago.

Teema Kurdi said the family - her brother Abdullah, his wife Rehan and their two boys, 3-year-old Aylan and 5-year-old Galip- embarked on the perilous boat journey only after their bid to move to Canada was rejected.

"I was trying to sponsor them, and I have my friends and my neighbors who helped me with the bank deposits, but we couldn't get them out, and that is why they went in the boat," she told the Citizen.

Canada's immigration minister Thursday suspended his re-election campaign to travel to Ottawa and look into why the Canadian government rejected the request. A senior government official said Chris Alexander wanted to determine the facts of the case.
In Britain, United Nations refugee agency representative Laura Padoan said publication of the photographs of Aylan may spark a major change in the public's perception of the burgeoning crisis.

"I think a lot of people will think about their own families and their own children in relation to those images," she said. "It is difficult for politicians to turn their backs on those kind of images and the very real tragedy that is happening."

ADDED: Time to Act? (= Obama on Syrian refugees. 2 years ago.)

Wednesday, September 2

Substance on Illegal Substances.

Here is an example of finding a potentially credible solution to a problem that everyone complains about.

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday released plans for a $10 billion initiative to combat the escalating drug epidemic that she says has swept through rural America and has emerged as a regular concern among voters she has met in the early nominating states.
Her plan to address the nearly 23 million Americans with substance abuse problems includes helping state and local governments put in place school and community-based programs to combat drug use, expanding mental health coverage to provide long-term support and making sure more emergency medical workers carry naloxone, which can prevent death from drug overdoses.

The plan includes spending $7.5 billion, partly paid for by reforming the criminal justice system, over 10 years to support federal-state partnerships to help prevent and treat drug addiction. States can receive $4 of federal support for every $1 they commit to prevention, treatment and recovery programs.
The aggressive stance on combating drug addiction comes as Mrs. Clinton has also called for criminal justice reform and rethinking long prison sentences for low-level drug offenders.

“For those who commit low-level, nonviolent drug offenses, I will reorient our federal criminal justice resources away from more incarceration and toward treatment and rehabilitation,” she said.
Nothing sexy, just a credible solution for a problem that needs addressing...

Bernie's Selling Sugar... Sweet!

Liberal writer Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic asks why Democrats are supporting Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate nominee:

As Hillary Clinton loses ground to Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Iowa, where her lead shrinks by the day, it’s worth noticing that she has never made particular sense as the Democratic Party’s nominee. She may be more electable than her social-democratic rival from Vermont, but plenty of Democrats are better positioned to represent the center-left coalition. Why have they let the former secretary of state keep them out of the race?

If Clinton makes it to the general election, I understand why most Democrats will support her. She shares their views on issues as varied as preserving Obamacare, abortion rights, extending legal status to undocumented workers, strengthening labor unions, and imposing a carbon tax to slow climate change.

But most Democrats hold similar positions on those issues. So why are Democrats supporting her in a primary bid? She’s awful on other issues they’ve deemed hugely important.

Most Democrats regard the Iraq War as a historic disaster. Clinton voted for that conflict. That hawkishness wasn’t a fluke. She pushed for U.S. intervention in Libya without Congressional approval and without anticipating all that has gone wrong in that country. She favored U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war as well. Why haven’t Democrats concluded that she has dangerously bad judgment on foreign policy? She certainly hasn’t done anything to distinguish herself in that realm.
The answer is: reality.

She is a player in the game, and has been, while the others have never undertaken the true work of leading a party.

The same is true of "consultants" and mid-level managers who come in to "advise" on how to complete a working task. On paper, their ideals make sense. When push comes to shove though, and the task must get done -- one way or another -- you're much better off hiring an experienced hand.

The working-class, for example, still understands common sense.

They know reality: understand in practice what can work, and what is a magical fairytale. "Best practices" are a bit like this. In the end, the "best practice" is one that is implementable, not a goal you will aim for but ultimately not achieve.

It's no surprise that wealthy liberals who read The Atlantic would support a dream candidate like Bernie Sanders. By not being a player in the game, he's thus far made no mistakes. Clinton has. But she's got a track record, in reality.

What has she learned from her experiences? What would be done differently, knowing now what she didn't know then? (professional experiences, not personal).

Bernie Sanders is like consuming sugar: it goes down easy, but ultimately, there's nothing nutritious being provided to people, in reality.

Tuesday, September 1

Law and Order in our One Nation Under God.

We can do this the easy way,
or we can do this the hard way,
but we're not going to do this yesterday's way, any more...

A county clerk in Kentucky who has invoked "God's authority" and is defying the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to license same-sex marriage has been summoned along with her entire staff to explain to a federal judge why she should not face stiff fines or jail time.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning moved swiftly Tuesday after a lesbian couple asked him to find Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt. Davis told several couples and a crowd of supporters and protesters that her religious beliefs prevent her from sanctioning gay marriage, and then retreated again, closing her office door and blinds to the raucous scene outside.
 The law is the law is the law is the law.
(apologies to Gertrude Stein, but... the world IS round!  No matter what they tell you...  I thought the Court's ruling was supposed to put all this stuff to bed?)
Lawyers for the two gay couples who originally sued her asked the judge Tuesday to find her in contempt, but punish her with only financial penalties, not jail time.

"Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform," they asked Bunning to "impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous" to compel her immediate compliance without delay.
Now  that's what I'm talking about!
One of Ms. Davis’s sympathetic co-clerks, Casey Davis, claimed that this is not about preventing same-sex marriage. “We’ve only tried to exercise our First Amendment rights,” he said.

Well, no.

To quote Justice Antonin Scalia in a recent case involving another First Amendment claim of religious freedom, “This is really easy.”

In short, Ms. Davis has no right, constitutional or otherwise, to refuse to do the job Kentucky pays her to do. As a municipal official, she is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married. Since June 26, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution forbids states to ban same-sex marriage, that population includes April Miller, Karen Roberts, David Ermold and David Moore — the two couples she rebuffed on Tuesday.

The Davises don’t seem to understand the two-sided game they’re playing, appealing to the Constitution even as they violate it. Perhaps they forgot that the First Amendment protects the people from the government, not the other way around.
No one is telling Ms. Davis what she may or may not believe, or how to live her own life in accord with the dictates of her conscience and her God. What they are saying is that as an employee and representative of the government, she lives under the law, not above it.

Conservative law professor Jonathan Adler too, echoes Justice Scalia's words and the NYT editorial from yesterday: 
The law on this point is clear. Davis cites her religious conscience as the excuse for her intransigence, but she is wrong to do so.  That’s not only my view, but the view of no less than Justice Antonin Scalia.

Davis has a right to observe and adhere to her religious beliefs, but she does not have a right to her job as county clerk. The latter obligates her to follow federal law, including the applicable judgments of federal courts, and it is now the law of the land that the Constitution bars state governments from refusing to recognize same-sex marriages on equal terms with opposite-sex marriages. If, as Davis claims, her religious convictions bar her from issuing such a marriage license, she should resign.
Now Scalia has not, to my knowledge, said anything directly about Davis’s actions, but he has addressed the question of what public officials should do when their official obligations conflict with their religious conscience. Writing in “First Things” in 2002, Scalia explained that if he were to conclude that the death penalty is fundamentally immoral, he should no longer serve on the bench.
Davis is in a similar position. Her official position obligates her to take part in the state’s licensing and recognition of marriages. Insofar as the state’s definition of an acceptable marriage differs from her own, Davis is obligated to follow the state’s rule so long as she maintains her current office.
Think of it this way. Someone who objects to war due to his religious conscience has a right to be a conscientious objector and not serve in the military, even were there to be a draft. But he does not have the right to serve as a military officer, draw a paycheck from the military and then substitute his own personal views of when war is justified for that of the government. The same applies here.

February Git...

It's September 1, the beginning of meteorological autumn.
It's also the 6-month anniversary of March 1, which brings an end to the short cold days of February.

What better time -- and it's national Rhyming Day too! -- to reprint one of my old works?

(Imitators need not apply.  Dump your own stuff elsewhere.)

What Came Next?

Early in the Barack Obama campaign for president,
some were comparing him to the first black mayor of the City of Chicago:  Harold Washington.

But what came next?
Anyone familiar with Chicago's political history would not be inspired.  There was no coalition building that allowed Chicago's black population to sustain what many at the time thought would be increased political participation by a disenfranchised minority.

In fact, one might say it was only men like Barack Obama who benefited from the community outreach.  Not so much the community itself.  His career soared, surely, but there was not much change in the political structure of who was elected to high office in the city in the following Daley decades.*

Democrats who still care about their party now see the same thing playing out on the national level:  what comes next?  Post-President Obama, will we see another few decades without serious black representation at the national level?  Will the history-making election be the major change touted as the president's legacy, as is how Mayor Harold Washington's administration is primarily remembered?

Call me an Oliver Twist, but were it me, I'd want more.
*(and now... Rahm Emanuel).

ADDED:  Legacy is important, and what -- or who -- follows the Obama presidential administration will be crucial in defining the course of the country in the coming years.

If Joe Biden overcomes his personal grief long enough to decide whether he will not retire from political office but make a credible run for the top slot, the election will be seen as a referendum on the Obama administration.

Hilary Clinton has left enough daylight between herself and the administration's first term to run as a more independent Democrat, not so solidly linked to the decisions made in President Obama's second term and the priorities shown (or not shown).  Presumably, she has enough distance too to criticize specifics and implementation, while still working toward upholding the overall policy goals and the Democratic legacy values of these opening rounds of the 21st century...

Is she a team player?  I'd say, Yes.
Not one of the boys, necessarily, but understanding her role as the party's leading candidate to follow-up President Obama's two terms.

If the Obama administration -- and the man himself -- fail in their role to continue the momentum his diverse democratic coalition promised in terms of future political power with the election of 2004, and subsequent re-election, it will be like the Harold Washington footnote in Chicago:  remembered for its history-making feat, but ultimately forgotten in terms of what was accomplished, boding ill for those interested in creating real change for the future.