Archives for May 2013

Imperialism Is Not Just An American Game

“Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must…knowing that you and everybody else, having the same power as we have, would do the same as we do,” state the Athenians in Thucydides famous Melian Dialogue section of his History of the Peloponnesian War.… [Read more]

Dude? Now? Dem seeking to capture Bachmann’s seat drops out of race

OK, sure, it makes sense. It is a rather red area. Is that what he was thinking?

Jim Graves, who lost by a thin margin to Minnesota US Rep. Michele Bachmann last year, sent a note to supporters informing that he suspended his campaign today. He noted that he was successful in his goal to oust Bachmann from Congress, just two days after she announced she wouldn’t seek re-election.… [Read more]

History 101—One way WWII had a positive impact for women

In my spare time {groan} I’ve been reading Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation. I enjoy reading about and studying history, and WWII is one of my favorite subjects. You remember WWII , you know, that war we fought to clean up the mess from WWI. You remember WWI, the ‘war to end all wars’. As the men went to war, women went to the workplace and, even though they were ‘fired’ at the end of the war, their presence in the workplace created more opportunities for women.… [Read more]

The Business of Government

I love baseball. Well, I love the Mets and the Mets play baseball most of the time. This week they have been playing (and beating!) their cross-town rivals: the hated NY Yankees.

The Mets have played second fiddle to the Yankees for most of the 51 years I have been following the Mets. The Yankees are considered Major League Baseball’s most successful franchise and, with a monetary value exceeding a Billion dollars, they are estimated to be the richest team in all of professional sports.… [Read more]

If anyone can head a Global Institute, it’s a guy who used to lead the CIA, right?

David Petraeus, the retired Army General who resigned as the director of the CIA last autumn, has a new gig: he’s taken a position job with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. as the head of their newly formed Global Institute division.

Petraeus, who served as commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan and forces in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, resigned from a brief stint at the CIA under a scandalous cloud after an extramarital affair with a biographer.… [Read more]

Faith Healing, A Chronic Illness

The blogosphere has been alive and kicking after the terrible news of loss of human life in this country this past week. First, there was the terrible mega-twister that tore through Oklahoma, killing dozens that we know of so far. Shortly thereafter a story surfaced out of Pennsylvania of a child dying under the watch of his faithful parents.… [Read more]

Bye, Bye Bachmann

Sometimes insomnia is a bane for political columnists. At other times, though, it’s a blessing. Of course, not being Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, I did have to carefully check to see if breaking wee hours news that Tea Party doyenne Rep. Michele “Fact-Free Diet” Bachmann (R-Minn.)’s local video announcement that she would not be seeking a fifth term in Congress did not have a byline from The Onion, Daily Currant, or a late night comedy writer.… [Read more]

American Cancer Society: 100 Years Old Today

It would seem rather strange to say, “Happy birthday, American Cancer Society!” on the day that it turns 100 years old. As other not-for-profit organisations of all stripes fall by the wayside, it’s simultaneously an accomplishment to have lasted this long to carry out its mission, and disheartening to see that far too many of us are still touched by cancer, thereby warranting the need for an organisation such as this to exist at all.… [Read more]

If the ‘Obamaphone’ doesn’t ring, it’s me.

The despised “Obamaphone” continues as Republicans’ whipping boy with more longevity than octogenarian publicity-seeking wobbly walker-borne missile Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio could hope for between Geritol shots.

Enter one Louisiana Sen. David “Diaper Boy” Vitter (R-D.C. Madam) into the fabled faux “Obamaphone” fray.  Oh, it’s just too ironic that the Federal Communications Commission low income telephone assistance subsidy expanded from traditional landline service to include wireless in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.… [Read more]

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2013. Formerly known as Decoration Day — originally created and celebrated by former African-American slaves — and meant to commemorate and honour all men and women who have died in military service for this nation, the day officially became known as Memorial Day after World War II. Since 1971, Memorial Day has been recognised as a federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May.… [Read more]

Ordinary Day

This week’s “Say It In Song” pick is ”Ordinary Day” as performed by Omar.

or·di·nar·y (/ˈôrdnˌerē/)

Ordinary is defined as having no special or distinctive features; normal.

It’s what is commonplace, regular or standard. In an era during which so much of what we see and hear is hype that is meant to frighten rather than enlighten and manipulate rather than teach, there’s beauty in being able to experience what is simple and ordinary.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: Will you be shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

Will you be shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch?

Regards, Michael Stanton Jeffries

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, CaliforniaPhoto: Vinc LeVinc

Hello my loyal readers, this week’s column, for once, is a true manners bonanza, and not just because I found an old Michael Landon hair or eleven in the chicken soup I ate last night, alone, over the sink, from the can, with my fingers.… [Read more]

Do we really need a government?

I wondered about political feelings and attitudes during my recent break. On the right, we have the radical way of thinking being pushed (and mostly financed) by corporations and many wealthy people whose goals are not what their followers believe. Corporations and other moneyed interests will tell you “No”, they believe the government must be small and stay away from businesses.… [Read more]

Our Public School Teachers are Heroes

The horrific storm that hit central Oklahoma has, once again, shined a spotlight on the dedication, selflessness and heroism of public school teachers. Moore, Oklahoma, the town that is no more, lost 9 students when an elementary school took the full force of what has been determined to be an EF5 tornado. The monster storm flattened the one-story structure with 200 MPH winds and debris harnessed by the funnel cloud of destruction.… [Read more]

Japan: A Demographic Problem With Obivous Solutions

What could be scarier than imagining your entire culture collapsing? With the current demographic projections, this may be a reality for Japan in the not too distant future. Population decline, starting around the 1970s, has been steady and consistently troubling there. The widely accepted causes of this decline include very low birth rates, very long life expectancies, and a lack of foreign nationals living in the country.… [Read more]

Al Gore….Deus Ex Machina

In the long ago late 1970s, when global warming was a gleam in some radical climatologist / doomsayer’s eye, when a jacked-up, tricked out 1973 Monte Carlo was high automotive art amongst my suburban Ontario pals, I read Bored of the Rings. Hilarious stuff, to a lover of the Tolkien trilogy…Dildo and Frito Bugger, high and mighty satire.… [Read more]

It’s Harvey Milk Day

For those who don’t know, May 22nd of each year is the day celebrated in loving memory of Harvey Milk, the gay rights activist who was murdered in 1978. Organised by the Harvey Milk Foundation, the day is meant to honour the accomplishments of Mr. Milk, a New York-born California politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in that state when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.… [Read more]

Suicide as a Disease, according to New Scientist

The other day, I came across this article Suicidal behaviour is a disease, psychiatrists argue on the website of New Scientist. To my skeptical mind, this article is profoundly dishonest, yet another example of self-serving opinions placed by vested interests with the goal of turning the debate on mental disorder in directions that suit themselves. In 1000 words, I can’t deal with every point it raises but we can have a look at some of the major inconsistencies.… [Read more]

Flogging the Taxman Redux

Congressional Republicans are trying to keep alleged White House “scandals” simmering well past al dente doneness. As facts unfold, it’s more like vainly trying to keep a wave upon the sandy beach.

Let’s remember last year’s GOP presidential primaries. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) made a seemingly intoxicated tirade about a tax return the size of a postcard.… [Read more]

Polls, Politicians and Public Attention – Wrapping Up the Week

Another week, another wrap-up. The problem is that this past week feels like déjà vu all over again as the news cycle spit out one story after another about the “scandals” of Benghazi the IRS and even “umbrella gate.” Yeah, ‘umbrella gate’ — in which the far right has lost what remains of its senses by throwing yet another hissy fit over a Marine holding an umbrella for the President as he delivered a speech during the rain.… [Read more]