30 December, 2018

I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America.

For 10 years, I worked as a cable tech in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Those 10 years, the apartments, the McMansions, the customers, the bugs and snakes, the telephone poles, the traffic, the cold and heat and rain, have blurred together in my mind. Even then, I wouldn’t remember a job from the day before unless there was something remarkable about it. Remarkable is subjective and changes with every day spent witnessing what people who work in offices will never see — their co-workers at home during the weekday, the American id in its underpants, wondering if it remembered to delete the browsing history.

Duterte says Christian belief in Trinity is ‘silly’

Before attacking the Holy Trinity doctrine, Duterte said Jesus Christ is “unimpressive” because he had allowed himself to be nailed on the cross.
“‘Yong Diyos mo, pinako sa krus. Tangina. Nakakawala ng bilib. Ako ang Diyos, tapos ipako mo ako? Putangina. Sabihin ko, ‘Lightning, ubusin mo ito. Sunugin mo lahat ng mga erehes,'” said Duterte.
(Your God was nailed on the cross. Fuck. How unimpressive. I’m God and you will crucify me? Motherfucker. I’d tell them, ‘Lightning, finish all of them. Burn all the non-believers.')

27 December, 2018

He Drew His School Mascot — and ICE Labeled Him a Gang Member

He ran back into his room and lay on the bed, holding his breath. He hoped the men would go away if they thought no one was home, but a half-hour passed, and he could still hear their muffled voices and steps. He told himself there was no reason to be afraid — his immigration case was moving forward, and he hadn’t committed any crime. So he put on flip-flops and went outside. One of the men asked his name and told him they had a warrant for his arrest. He was too stunned to protest as they cuffed his hands behind his back, loaded him into an S.U.V. and drove off, with a second car in front and a third behind. A neighbor watched between the curtains as the convoy disappeared. She called his parents. They rushed home and found his keys, wallet and cellphone laid out neatly on the kitchen table.

24 December, 2018

I did not know this story; it's absolutely nuts

Is it possible for an American Vice President to carry out a criminal enterprise inside the White House and have nobody remember? To have one of the most brazen political bribery scandals in American history play out before the country while nobody’s paying attention? In her first original podcast, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow goes back 45 years to dig into a story that got overshadowed in its day.

McCain: The Moment I Came to Love My Enemy

As I was looking at the heavens, I became aware of him as he walked near me and then, for a moment, stood very close to me. He did not speak or smile or look at me. He just stared at the ground in front of us, and then, very casually, he used his foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We both stood looking at his work for a minute until he rubbed it out and walked away.

For just that moment I forgot all my hatred for my enemies, and all the hatred most of them felt for me. I forgot about the Jerk, and the interrogators who persecuted my friends and me. I forgot about the war, and the terrible things that war does to you. I was just one Christian venerating the cross with a fellow Christian on Christmas morning.

21 December, 2018

What Is Glitter?

The jovial Mr. Shetty told me over the phone that people have no idea of the scientific knowledge required to produce glitter, that Glitterex’s glitter-making technology is some of the most advanced in the world, that people don’t believe how complicated it is, that he would not allow me to see glitter being made, that he would not allow me to hear glitter being made, that I could not even be in the same wing of the building as the room in which glitter was being made under any circumstance, that even Glitterex’s clients are not permitted to see their glitter being made, that he would not reveal the identities of Glitterex’s clients (which include some of the largest multinational corporations in the world; eventually, one did consent to be named: thank you, Revlon, Inc.), and that, fine, I was welcome to come down to Glitterex headquarters to learn more about what I could not learn about in person.

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted

Fahrenheit 451 is not, he says firmly, a story about government censorship. Nor was it a response to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose investigations had already instilled fear and stifled the creativity of thousands.
This, despite the fact that reviews, critiques and essays over the decades say that is precisely what it is all about. Even Bradbury’s authorized biographer, Sam Weller, in The Bradbury Chronicles, refers to Fahrenheit 451as a book about censorship.
Bradbury, a man living in the creative and industrial center of reality TV and one-hour dramas, says it is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.

17 December, 2018

Poland Reverses Supreme Court Purge, Retreating From Conflict With E.U.

The Parliament approved the bill reinstating the Supreme Court judges three weeks ago, after less than four hours of debate. But President Andrzej Duda — who had been the face and force behind the court purge — waited until the last hours before his formal deadline Monday night to sign the bill into law.
Michal Wawrykiewicz, a lawyer from the Free Courts Initiative and Committee for Defense of Justice, called the reversal “a failure of the ruling camp, and victory of the rule of law.”
“Signing it must have been very uncomfortable for the president,” Mr. Wawrykiewicz said. “He waited until the last minute when he knew his voters had Christmas, and not the rule of law, on their minds.”

16 December, 2018

MEDITATION for A Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols by Rev. Dr. Richard Spalding, Chaplain, Williams College

            Nothing really goes very well in this story.
It begins with a young family nearly torn apart by the intense shaming that goes along with pregnancy outside the boundaries of “propriety” (or, for that matter, explanation).   It continues with the harsh dislocation of a whole population to feed the empire’s appetite for revenue, and with the particular hardship imposed on vulnerable people who need shelter in a crowded, preoccupied town.  

The police officer who arrested a president

West replied: “I want to inform you, Mr. President, that you are violating the law by speeding along this street. Your fast driving, sir, has set the example for a lot of other gentlemen."
The president apologized, promised it wouldn’t happen again, and galloped away.
But Grant could not curb his need for speed.
The next evening, West was patrolling at the corner of 13th and M streets when the president came barreling through again, this time speeding so fast that it took him an entire block to stop.
Now Grant was cocky and had a “smile on his face,” the Star article said, that made him look like “a schoolboy who had been caught in a guilty act by a teacher.”

12 December, 2018

He Helped Build an Artists’ Utopia. Now He Faces Trial for 36 Deaths There.


Max Harris did chores and collected rent at the artists’ warehouse where he lived. Now he faces trial for the deaths at a concert there — including some of his close friends.

Mr. T on the origins of his name


I think about my father being called 'boy', my uncle being called 'boy', my brother, coming back from Vietnam and being called 'boy'. So I questioned myself: "What does a black man have to do before he's given the respect as a man?" So when I was 18 years old, when I was old enough to fight and die for my country, old enough to drink, old enough to vote, I said I was old enough to be called a man. I self-ordained myself Mr. T so the first word out of everybody's mouth is "Mr." That's a sign of respect that my father didn't get, that my brother didn't get, that my mother didn't get.

10 December, 2018

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?

Millions of women mobilized against gender inequality and the election of Donald Trump in 2016. But only four of them ended up at the top—and the consequences have been enormous.

06 December, 2018

13 of Vox’s best podcast episodes of 2018

This holiday season, you might find yourself traveling to visit family or spend time with friends. Or you might decide to stay home and use some of your holiday time to organize your spice rack. Either way, you’ll need several hours of stimulating podcasts to help get you through to the New Year, and Vox has you covered. We’ve created the perfect playlist to get you over the river, through the woods, and into 2019.

Insurance company overwhelmed by cost of California wildfire, goes out of business

The devastating California Camp Fire has caused such widespread damage that it has put at least one insurance company out of business.
The local Merced County Insurance Company — whose client base is overwhelmingly located in the wildfire-prone Sacramento Central Valley area — announced this week that it was closing shop because it can’t pay out the expected fire-related insurance claims.

The Jim Hightower Column They Don’t Want You to Read

https://www.texasobserver.org/the-jim-hightower-column-they-dont-want-you-to-read/But local ownership matters, as some 1,500 of our towns have learned after Wall Street’s corporate demigods of greed have swept in without warning to seize their paper, gut its journalistic mission, and devour its assets. For example, Digital First, a huge private-equity profiteer, snatched the St. Paul Pioneer Press and, demanding a ridiculous 25 percent profit margin from its purchase, stripped the newsroom staff from a high of 225 journalists to 25!
As Robert Kuttner reported, these tyrannical private equity firms are paper constructs that produce nothing but profits for faraway speculators. He notes that the blandly-named entities only exist “thanks to three loopholes in the law” – the first lets them operate in the dark, the second provides an unlimited tax deduction for the massive amounts of money they borrow to buy up newspapers, and the third allows them to profit by intentionally bankrupting the paper they take over.

05 December, 2018

I Was Houston's Mayor. Here's Why I Was Proud George H.W. Bush Called This City Home

The contradictions can be puzzling – a man who secured enormous gains for one marginalized community ignored another in a time of crisis – but like all great men, he should be remembered for the totality of his record, the accomplishments as well as the blemishes. The assumed hostility toward LGBTQ people was absent from his interactions with me – an out lesbian mayor – and his skydiving note indicated more openness than his record suggests. It would only be speculation, but perhaps his attitudes changed over the decades, as did the attitudes of so many Americans.
When I was mayor, I learned the city held detailed plans and protocols for when the former president or his first lady passed. I’m glad I didn’t have to act on those instructions, but I would have been honored to ensure his final wishes were carried out to their fullest – no matter the closed airport runways, freeways or roads.

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s aides and advisers have tried to convince him of the importance of tackling the national debt.
Sources close to the president say he has repeatedly shrugged it off, implying that he doesn’t have to worry about the money owed to America’s creditors—currently about $21 trillion—because he won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes even more untenable.
The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt.

04 December, 2018

American-born citizen sues sheriff after he was nearly deported to Jamaica

Peter Sean Brown was born in Philadelphia.
But when he showed up at a Florida sheriff’s office for violating probation after testing positive for marijuana, he was told he would be detained and flagged for deportation — to the island of Jamaica — based on a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
Brown repeatedly told officers at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Florida that he was a U.S. citizen, and even offered to show his birth certificate, according to the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Brown, 50, had been living in Florida for the last decade, according to the suit.
"Despite his repeated protests to multiple jail officers, his offer to produce proof, and the jail’s own records, the sheriff’s office held Mr. Brown so that ICE could deport him to Jamaica — a country where he has never lived and knows no one," the complaint said.

03 December, 2018

Rest in Peace: Andrew H. Gee, Pastoral Counselor

Cherished and Revered Teachers, Therapists, Supervisors, Pastors, and Mentors over the years include: J.B. Carr, Beth Wright, Opal Outlaw, Robert Miller, James M. Howard, Rosemary Robertson, Joyce Trentham Doyal, Wm. Barry Jones, Thomas Gooden, Everett O'Neal, Ercelle Snyder, Elmos Benefield, William R. Stafford, Sue Stafford, Robbie Robertson, Marshall Gupton, Mickey Johnson, Danny D. Prior, Patricia Prior, Waunell Benefield, J. David Davis, Elmer Keller, Wymal Porter, Sam Clyatt, Robert Miller, Leldon "Buddy" Nichols, Clarence Berry, Arthur Ittermann, Elmer Delancy, Paul Martin, Nat & Dolores Phillips, Jacob Gartinhouse, Lee Roberson, J.R. Faulkner, Cliff Robinson, John R. Rice, Warren Wiersbe,  Ed Ballew, Bobby Grubbs, Paul DeVivo, Ferd White, Stan Fjeld, Ralph Hood, Stan Speal, Jack McEwen, Don McCary, Joseph Callaway, E. Glenn Hinson, Bill Leonard, Glenn Stassen, Eric Rust, Dale Moody, Frank Tupper, Frank Stagg, David Garland, James Blevins, Harold Songer, George R. Beasley-Murray, Wade Rowatt, Andrew Lester, Edward Thornton, William J. Sullivan, Bill Wadsworth, John Reed, Carlisle Driggers, Cecil Etheredge, Bill Slagle, Victor Glass, Warren Woolf, E. Augustus (Gus) Verdery, Jim Martin, Jack Harwell, Russ Barker, T. Melvin Williams, Beth Brown Shugart,  Nancy Sehested, Walker Knight, William C. Jackson, Don Cabaniss, Edwin Nash, Tom Conley, Don Saliers, Timothy Albrecht, Steven Darsey, Derrell Ray, Lorraine Wheeler, Mary Erickson, Joy Wilson, Diane McMullen, Larry Ashley, Walter Evans Smith, Bandupriya Vidanagama, Ross Hightower, Eugene Robinson, O.L. "Zeke" DeLozier, John Patton,  David M. Moss III, Ed Rascoe, David Barstow, Julian Gomez, Hugo Zee, Kingsley Weathersly, Mickey Nardo, Gene & Sarah Martin, Wayne Grinstead, Leigh Conver, Charles (Chuck) Gerkin, Gary Myers, Gerald Jenkins, Robert Schwinn, Albert Davis, Ramon Ganzarain, Frank Weathersby, Lanny Peters, Melanie Vaughn-West, Franklin Duncan, Wayne Oates, Billy Nimmons, Larry Flanagan, Tolly Williamson, Robert Alpern, George Ganaway, Kathy Barnes, Carl Johnson, Gloria White, Robert Shaw, Ann Howard Jones, Norman Mackenzie, David Morrow, Fred Craddock, Karen Shipp, Dwight Andrews, David Hilton, my colleagues, my friends, my clients, and many others -- a cloud of witnesses.

01 December, 2018

On Being Accused

For a variety of reasons, most justified, some unjustified, men accused of sexual impropriety in today’s “me-too” climate are presumed to be guilty by the court of public opinion. Emotions bypass due-process, people choose sides, and the social media wars begin.
In any claim, evidence matters. Evidence always matters. But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgment on who is more credible than whom. And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth – and would have my full cooperation to do so.
I’ve recently been publically accused of sexual misconduct. These accusations have received a fair amount of press in the past forty-eight hours, unaccompanied by my reactions. In many cases, it’s not the media’s fault. I declined comment on the grounds that serious accusations should not be adjudicated in the press. But clearly I cannot continue to stay silent. So below I offer my account of each accusation.

A High School Newspaper Was Suspended For Publishing An Investigation Into Football Players' Transfers

An Arkansas school district suspended its high school newspaper and threatened to fire the teacher who advises it after student journalists wrote a story criticizing the transfer of five football players to a rival high school.
“They are like ‘well you raised an uproar, we’re going to try and silence you,’” Halle Roberts, 17, the editor-in-chief of The Har-Ber Herald, told BuzzFeed News.