Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Letter to the editor re World Peace Day

Herewith a letter to the editor of the SB News-Press that I sent today. I'll update this post when/if the letter is published.

Update: The letter was published in the News-Press on Sunday, October 2, 2016.

To the editor:

You likely missed World Peace Day, Wednesday, September 21 – understandable, since no major media source mentioned it. We're not talking about "World Days" for mosquitoes, (August 21), UFOs (July 2) or sleep (March 18).

No, World Peace Day is earnest, serious: proclaimed by the UN in 1981; designated in 2001 as a day of international peace; announced annually by ringing the Peace Bell at the UN building. However, last Wednesday, although the bell was once again rung, there was nowhere else the recognition or practice of peace.

Indeed, one senses that world peace is now so beyond possibility as to render the concept irrelevant – a preposterous, silly whim. With "wars" of various styles abounding – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia – and potential hotspots everywhere – the Koreas, Ukraine/Crimea, Kashmir (plus American and European cities) – the ideals that created World Peace Day seem distant, forgotten.

Have Americans given up on World Peace? According to the two major presidential candidates, apparently so. Both Trump and Clinton speak as if wars, in various configurations, are the order of the day. But both Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and Gary Johnson, Libertarian – echoing the majority of Americans – find ongoing, endless war intolerable.

But we won't hear their voices, neither in the upcoming debates nor in the major media, which rarely gives them airtime and charges too much for ads. In sum, World Peace Day, once a founded aspiration, is now an unheard outlier's plea, or, to the cynic, a sad joke.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Letter to the editor

Herewith, after a long spell of silence on this blog, is the text of a letter I wrote to the editor of the SB News-Press today. I'll update this blog if/when it's published.

Update: The letter was published in the News-Press on Sunday, July3, 2016.

Quo vadis, Bernie Babies?

The Brits' Brexit vote has shown that Americans aren't alone in yearning for substantive change in their system of governance. Indeed, if one were to string together the last decade's worldwide movements for real and dramatic change in the way things are – from a black U.S. President to Hugo Chavez; from Arab Spring to Occupy; from Tea Party to Donald Trump – it's clear: The Times They are A-changin'.

Or so we progressive Americans thought, we who so ardently worked and spent (an average of) $27 for Bernie Sanders' campaign for the Democratic nomination for President, a campaign carrying the banner of "A future to believe in," and calling for a "political revolution."

But no. Hillary Clinton will become the party's nominee and Bernie, after (at best) causing meaningless language to be inserted into the Democrats' meaningless platform at the convention, is going to vote for her, he says.

So, do we hold our noses and, out of fear of Trump, vote for her too? Do we stay home on election day, or move to Denmark (if they'll have us)? Do we vote for Trump in spite?

To me, the answer is simple: I shall do as my high school civics teacher taught us was the purpose of each citizen's vote in a democracy – to give voice to that person's unfettered choice of the best candidate. And that person, hands down, is Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party.

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Tragedy for Sweden and the world

Thirty years ago yesterday, the assassination of Olof Palme changed Sweden, Europe and the world. For the story, read this. (The video is in Swedish, but the story, in English, tells enough to understand what was lost that day.)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A great essay on voter ignorance

Follow this link to a fun and founded assessment of the American political system and its victims, the voters.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Letter to the editor

Here's the text of a letter I emailed today to the SB News-Press. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Full disclosure: I'm on the Bernie Bandwagon, a member of the Bernie Brigade – despite my advanced years, a Bernie Baby – and I'll tell you why. Certainly my political stance aligns with that of Senator Sanders on almost all issues (he's not addressed foreign policy as much as I would like, however), but I have a particularly compelling reason for supporting him: I cannot – simply cannot – abide the prospect of four (or eight!) years of a President Hillary Rodham Clinton. Indeed, I'm almost as much motivated to favor Bernie's candidacy by my aversion to Hillary's as I am by my support of Bernie's call for economic and social revolution.

I've had enough of what Hillary Clinton represents and presents: the squishy language of politico-speech; the constant maneuvering of stance and position on issues; the incessant test-the-waters approach to leadership – in short, the continued unprincipled, ad hoc, and visionless governance that we Americans have suffered under for decades.

I understand – although I don't for a moment agree with – many Republicans' support of right-wing candidates who don't mince their words and hedge their positions. I yearn for that clarity of principle and expression on the left side of the political spectrum, a yearning that Bernie Sanders satisfies and that Hillary Clinton is incapable of. In short, come time to vote for President next November, I want to punch my ballot with pride and hold it upraised with both hands – not with one hand holding my nose.



Tuesday, September 01, 2015

An apt opinion

In view of the increasing number of incidents of police arresting those who might be engaged in protesting the arrest of another (or, as is lately common, filming the arrest), I'm reminded of an Arizona Court of Appeals opinion on the point, State v. Tages. I note that the attorney for appellant Betty Lou Tages was an illustrious and brilliant one, to be sure.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Letter to the editor

Here's the text of a letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press that I emailed today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Update: The letter was published on July 10, 2015.

From Bob Dylan to Dylann Roof. I'm surely not the first person to note the similarity of these names, but I am among the dwindling few older Americans who traversed as adults the fifty-plus years from the first airing of Dylan's prescient lyrics from "Blowin' in the Wind" to the last month's outrage in Charleston, South Carolina. How many deaths, indeed, must it take 'til we know that too many people have died?

It's with inexpressible sadness that many of us elders reflect upon those five decades, years that have brought ceaseless violence and death: wars that end, only to begin; terror and militarism abroad and at home; racism and bigotry unending in its force; poverty, fear and injustice as pervasive as ever. The brief moments of respite from this ongoing agony – as few as they have been, and mostly in song or oratory, from Dr. King's dream speech to Mr. Obama's recent eulogy – haven't stopped the carnage and misery. The slaughter of innocents and the death and displacement of people through war, murder, starvation, disease is unabated despite the rhetoric, despite the efforts of a few humans who strive to end it.

In 1961, we were "the new generation of Americans" to whom President Kennedy passed the torch, who were entrusted with the fate of the nation, of the world. I wish I could reflect upon our passage with pride of accomplishment, but to do so would be disingenuous. The answer, my friends – you younger Americans – is still blowin' in the wind.     

Monday, February 23, 2015

I am the white cream-stuff inside the Oreo

Why don't I know anything about this amazing artist/person, recently featured on PBS "American Masters"?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Have you ever wondered ...

Why during a solar eclipse the moon appears to be the same size as the sun, therefore blocking its precise surface area? Well, according to scientists it's a coincidence, just a coincidence, and only a coincidence for a while, because the moon is moving away from Earth an inch a year, so in a few million years the moon will appear smaller than the sun, not blocking it out entirely.

Really -- coincidence? I prefer a conspiracy theory.