Posts Tagged ‘hope

10
Jun
14

Whistling towards the graveyard

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From CNET: A bulletproof blanket seeks to shield kids during school shootings

Civilizations die from suicide, not  by murder.

- Arnold Toynbee

Let’s review a few news items from the past few days/months:

– A scofflaw rancher attracts a motley assortment of militia defenders threatening to shoot federal agents.

– A “sovereign citizen” in Georgia dies in a shootout with deputies while trying to take over a courthouse.

– Right wing extremists walk up to two Las Vegas police officers and shoot them, declaring the beginning of a revolution.

– A POW is released, and a sizable portion of the nation, instead of celebrating, rains down opprobrium upon the POW, his family, and President Obama.

And those are just off the top of my head. I could also include Senator Rand Paul tweeting that next time Pres. Obama does a prisoner swap, he should send five Democrats instead.

Things which were once beyond the pale have become commonplace, even excused. This isn’t something endemic solely to the Age of Obama. Oklahoma City happened on the watch of the previous Democratic president, who shares the trait of being demonized with Pres. Obama.

The pass in which we find ourselves has been long in gestation. It’s just been brought to gruesome birth upon the election and re-election of the nation’s first black President.

For close on two decades, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and their cohorts on right wing hate radio and Fox News hate television have been providing a steady diet of outrage and conspiracy. But outrage and conspiracy are like heroin: each successive hit has to be more potent, has to up the high, as their acolytes seek to keep the outrage up, seek meaning for all the travails besetting them. Thus you get people like Alex Jones, who is more than willing to feed the addicts with ever more insane junk, upping the potency, wasting what’s left of their minds.

Continue reading ‘Whistling towards the graveyard’

08
Feb
14

Change Has Come To America

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TPM: Justice Department To Launch Push For Full Recognition Of Same-Sex Marriage

In an assertion of same-sex marriage rights, Attorney General Eric Holder is applying a landmark Supreme Court ruling to the Justice Department, announcing Saturday that same-sex spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other, should be eligible to file for bankruptcy jointly and are entitled to the same rights and privileges as federal prison inmates in opposite-sex marriages. The Justice Department runs a number of benefits programs, and Holder says same-sex couples will qualify for them. They include the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and benefits to surviving spouses of public safety officers who suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in the line of duty.

“In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law,” Holder said in prepared remarks to the Human Rights Campaign in New York. The advocacy group works on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.

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On Monday, the Justice Department will issue a policy memo to its employees instructing them to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law. After the Supreme Court decision last June, the Treasury Department and the IRS said that all legally married gay couples may file joint federal tax returns, even if they reside in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages. The Defense Department said it would grant military spousal benefits to same-sex couples. The Health and Human Services Department said the Defense of Marriage Act is no longer a bar to states recognizing same-sex marriages under state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management said it is now able to extend benefits to legally married same-sex spouses of federal employees and annuitants.

More here

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22
Nov
13

The new meanness

One of the most popular shows on television is CBS’ “Two and a Half Men”. And I’ve often wondered at its popularity.

It is a very well-written and acted show, as far as it goes. But if you watch it for any length of time, you come away with a wretched taste in your mouth. It is, without a doubt, a show with characters who have no redeeming qualities. Everyone is gleefully mean to everyone else, reveling in cutting barbs and casual humiliation. Obviously, it’s a comedy painted in broad strokes, as sitcoms normally are. However, if you watch it on your local station in reruns before the prime time schedule comes on, you’ll be forgiven for wondering why anyone should give a damn about what happens to any of the show’s characters.

And yet, for more than a decade it has been one of the most popular shows on television. Before Charlie Sheen melted down, he was the highest paid actor on TV thanks to it. Millions of people tune in to watch a weekly display of dysfunction so severe that suspension of disbelief becomes increasingly difficult.

Obviously, you can’t judge an entire culture by the popularity of one television show. But here is another data point. Bloomberg has an article helpfully entitled “Obamacare Shows How Americans Are Becoming Jerks“. From the piece:

What’s clear is that the shifting views on health care predate the Affordable Care Act. The number of Americans who think health care is the government’s responsibility hovered around two-thirds for the first half of the 2000s, peaking at 69 percent in 2006. Then those numbers started falling, hitting 50 percent in 2010 and 42 percent this year.

The shrinkage of American generosity during that period wasn’t just about health care. The onset of the recession corresponded with a change in public opinion on a range of issues, and in most cases the effect was to make Americans less caring about others.

Starting in 2007, the portion of Americans who said the government should guarantee every person enough to eat and a place to sleep started falling, from 69 percent to 59 percent last year. People who said the government should help the needy, even if it means going deeper into debt, fell from 54 percent to 43 percent over the same period.

Continue reading ‘The new meanness’

27
Aug
13

Out of the Mountain of Despair….

Tomorrow:

3:05 EDT President Obama delivers remarks at the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

25
Mar
13

A few words on hope

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How’s that hopey-changey thing goin’ for ya?

—Sarah Palin, half-term governor of Alaska, speaking about Barack Obama

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all. 

—Emily Dickinson

My life would be impossible without hope.

For as long as I remember, I’ve stuttered. Most of my life has been spent in compensation for this malady, trying to pass it off as no big deal, as no impediment to achieving my goals in life. But the fact is that, despite supportive friends and family, the world does view you differently when you’re different. But, even greater, you view yourself as Other, as not quite the same as those around you, magnifying your flaws to the point where they become huge boulders standing in your path.

With an affliction such as mine, one can go one of two ways: towards desperation, or towards hope. I count myself lucky; again, because of supportive friends and family, I always kept hope foremost in my mind, that something would break my way.

To make a long story short, I eventually found a doctor whose therapy worked. Thanks to keeping faith in things getting better, I’m now a librarian, talking my head off, reading and singing to children in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do before my therapy.

I don’t tell this personal story to elicit commendation. I tell it to illustrate the centrality of hope in any decent human life.

Hope gives you a chance at a decent life. Hopelessness only leads to death.

Continue reading ‘A few words on hope’

04
Oct
12

Chat away

Nick Anderson

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Friday:

10:0: President Obama departs the White House

10:50: Delivers remarks at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va

12:05: Departs Va.

1:15: Arrives in Cleveland, Ohio

2:30: Delivers remarks at Cleveland State University in Ohio

4:55: Departs Cleveland

6:20: Arrives at the White House

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