Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Boxing Day

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

Dear Sir or Madam:

I wrote this on "Boxing Day," the day after Christmas. You've doubtless heard of Boxing Day, but, perhaps like me, hadn't known its derivation. Well, I've cyber-searched it: Consensus is, it arose in England centuries ago, nickname for servants' "day off" to enjoy the boxed gifts and leftovers their nobles dispensed to them, the servants having labored through Christmas Day to provide their masters with feast and celebration. Over succeeding years it became a secular day of giving – through alms-boxes and the like – celebrated throughout the UK and many Commonwealth countries.

However, Boxing Day has lately devolved from a day of sharing and tribute to workers' labor and service, into a frenetic shopping day – with crowds surging into stores for much-touted discounts. It's also a hallowed – if lethargic – day for televised sport: endless soccer matches, auto racing and such, with leftover Christmas food and drink at hand. 

Sound familiar? Sound like our Black Friday merged with Super Bowl Sunday? And why not? America leads Western Culture nowadays: Our Labor Day no longer celebrates labor in America: It's simply beer-and-burger day. Memorial Day has become beer-and-Indy day, and Independence Day is all about fireworks. Our Thanksgiving is now tryptophan-and-TV day, followed within hours by our annual addictively-intense shopping event.

So – No surprise. Boxing Day has become driven by distraction and commercialism, sullied by crass consumerism, just as have our holidays.

But we still have Christmas, a day of goodness and kindness, without the unseemly commercialism that has consumed other holidays, right?


Friday, September 22, 2017

Bernie's speech on foreign policy. Good stuff, and high time he addressed it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I note that it's been a year since my last post to this blog. I don't apologize: I've been in such despair that I have found any expression meaningless. However, I have today written another letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News Press which, if it's published, I'll update this post with the specifics thereof. Herewith (Update: The post was published in the News Press on Sunday, September 17.):

To the editor:

Music to my ears. That was my reaction to Hillary Clinton's response to the question put to her last Sunday by CBS's Jane Pauley on whether her political career was over: "I am done with being a candidate."

For me, a progressive, the prospect of another Clinton candidacy by Bill or Hillary for any office (I don't know enough about Chelsea to include her) has a distinctly zombie-like quality. What, for once and all, can be done to erase from our nation's future these two life-long principle-less office-seekers, these awful consummate politicians? Indeed, I worry that, like Bill's weasel-worded "explanations" of his perjurious denials of sex with Monica, Hillary will later (depending on which way the wind is blowing) retract her announcement and we'll have to waste yet another election cycle driving another stake into her (alleged) heart.

It's my hope that we progressives can now turn to effective, even "radical," solution, not accommodation, of the issues of economic fairness, global peace, environmental sanity. The Clintons and their enablers (I include almost all politicians whom California Democrats have been sending to Washington, including Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer – and, to my chagrin, Obama) have delayed, distracted and obstructed us long enough. As Bob Dylan enjoined "senators, congressmen" more than a generation ago, "Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall ... There's a battle outside and it's ragin'...For the times they are a-changin'."

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.