Showing posts from December, 2015

Short Memories

Besides being irascible, dogged, and right most of the time, what do these two gentlemen have in common? You may not like the answer. Yesterday I announced I will pragmatically vote not for Bernie Sanders but, instead, for Hillary Clinton, a politician who, for all her flaws, is, I believe, best suited to move the United States in a positive direction as President. Within hours, I had a half dozen comments to the piece--which is half a dozen more than I usually get for an essay. It seems there are many who read this blog who are proudly, defiantly feeling the Bern, and felt the need to take me to task for my business-as-usual choice. Never mind that the Sanders agenda is packed with items that cannot be legislated without the complete cooperation of a Congress dominated by Republicans who can't even agree on how to advance their own agenda, let alone the proudly socialist programs a President Sanders would put before them. Even in the unlikely event of a complete turnover o

Not Feeling the Bern

Great wish list. Too bad Santa isn't running for President. Before I launch the rant, here are my qualifications: 1) I first realized I was a socialist in 1980, when a conservative friend asked me some leading questions to which the answer, for me, was obviously yes (I can't remember what they were, but I expect they had to do with federal regulations, labor unions, and the social safety net). "Congratulations," he said, his voice heavy with irony, "you're a socialist." "Huh," I replied, "if believing that government should protect the interests of ordinary people against corporate interests, then I'm all in!" Or something like that. 2) I'm no Hillary Clinton fan.  There are many reasons, but the clincher was her evasiveness around the obviously political evolution of her views on marriage equality in a 2014 interview with Terry Gross. The rhetorical knots she tied herself in were eerily reminiscent of her husband&#

Bringing Balance to the Force

Even at 16, I knew this was hokum. Yesterday morning at 10:15 (give or take a few minutes), I turned back into a 16-year-old. We arrived at the theater a half hour early, assuming there would be a line (there was not). The night before, we had purchased our tickets online, at an added cost of $1.50/ticket, assuming the show would be sold out (it was not). The theater was nearly full, though, and even arriving early enough to sit through all the sponsored content (ugh), we had to sit uncomfortably close to the screen to have three seats together. The ads ran, followed by a long string of previews, and then it happened: the sparkling Lucasfilm logo appeared. I gasped. Amy giggled at my excitement. A moment later, the brass chord that can mean only one thing rang through the theater, the prologue text began its crawl across the screen, and 38 years disappeared from my age. For two hours, I had fanboy thrill upon thrill as the sights and sounds I'd been craving since 198

The Problem with Blaming Hearts

Scary thing about this graphic: how many variations one finds when Googling "hearts guns." This is not my first time at the shoot-em-up rodeo. Many of the first essays I wrote in this space were about gun violence. They triggered fierce reactions from some gun enthusiasts I was acquainted with. For a short time, I humored those people by attempting to engage them in some back-and-forth conversation. A very short time. It quickly became clear that, as with any other matter of religion, politics, or addiction, the people who feel most threatened by those holding different views have got no thinking space left for listening to those views. I was talking and writing past them, rather than to or with them. So I quit answering their comments. Life's too short to spend it carefully crafting arguments the intended recipient will conveniently ignore as he or she throws out a fresh batch of distortions, false equivalences, and appeals to authority. Comment strings also miss

Ignoring the Obvious

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." --Wayne LaPierre, Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. And what if the bad guy with a gun is wearing body armor? Mass shootings have become so frequent in the United States that the aftermaths are utterly predictable. Speculative news reporting, Democratic hand-wringing, empty Republican platitudes, and rapid-response gun lobby spin flood the media. By the time accurate reporting is possible, the nation has moved on--all to frequently to the next shooting. Numb, shell-shocked, unable to process the sheer magnitude of the national gun pathology, our minds seize on distractions, flail about for something, anything that will keep us from imagining our friends, our families, our children on the receiving end of the next barrage. The most recent of these shootings appears to have had a connection to ISIS, the most recent i