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As We Ponder The Confederate Flag

June 25, 2015

Simply the best column in the newspapers today.  With no surprise it was written by Nicholas Kristof.

Suppose African-Americans marked their heritage with flags depicting Nat Turner’s rebellion of 1831, in which slaves massacred about 60 whites before the uprising was crushed? The flag wouldn’t be celebrating the murder of whites, of course, but would simply commemorate a factual milestone in black history!

Suppose Mexican-Americans waved a flag depicting the battle of the Alamo? The point would not be to celebrate the slaughter of Texans, but to express pride in Mexican heritage!

Suppose Canadian-Americans displayed a flag showing the burning of the White House in the War of 1812? Nothing against the Yanks, mind you — just a point of Canadian historical pride!

Suppose American women waved flags of Lorena Bobbitt, who reacted to domestic abuse in 1993 by severing her husband’s penis and throwing it into a field? The aim wouldn’t be to approve of sexual mutilation, of course — but Bobbitt’s subsequent acquittal was a landmark in the recognition of domestic violence!

Well, you get the point. That’s how the Confederate battle flag looked to many of us. And at least Nat Turner was fighting for his own freedom, while the Confederate battle flag was the banner of those who fought freedom, defended slavery, clubbed civil rights workers — and, most recently, murdered black churchgoers. And it’s exhilarating to see the same distaste expressed in the Southern mainstream.

This is where Kristof takes flight with his column and makes his larger point.

So, sure, good riddance to Confederate flags across the country! And then let’s swivel to address the larger national disgrace: In 2015, so many children still don’t have an equal shot at life because of the color of their skin.

Just a perfect column and one we all need to think about.

Fourth Of July Flags–Part Three

June 25, 2015

James keeps the neighborhood looking upwards as we celebrate our national independence from Britain with a variety of flags.  Today we flew the Bennington Flag.

Burgoyne, the British General operating in northern New York, in the Revolutionary War, heard that the Americans had collected some military supplies at Bennington, Vermont. He sent an expedition of 1,000 men to capture them.Colonel John Stark, a hero of Bunker Hill, with 2,000 Americans set out to oppose the British. They fought under the Bennington Flag. When Stark saw the British advancing down the road he pointed them out to his brave troops and said: “Boys, there they are. We beat them today, or Molly Stark’s a widow.”The Green Mountain Boys, fighting Indian fashion, practically annihilated the British Regulars. Only about 100 of them ever got back to Burgoyne’s Army. It was the loss of these 900 men that contributed much to the failure of Burgoyne’s campaign, which ended in disaster with the surrender of his Army at Saratoga, New York, October 7, 1777, a death blow to the British.The Bennington Flag was presented to Colonel Stark’s Army by Nathaniel Fillmore, the father of the future President. It was made of homespun linen and hand sewed.

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Eddie Stubbs, WSM Announcer, Is a Gentleman

June 25, 2015

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Working in broadcasting is not easy. When it sounds relaxing and conversational that means the announcer is a top-notch professional. Such as with WSM radio announcer Eddie Stubbs.

Stubbs was mentioned in my book Walking Up The Ramp for being a gentleman at the time my parents and I attended the Grand Ole Opry. Mom and Dad were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and from the world famous stage he announced that a couple from Hancock, Wisconsin was in the Opry House.   I had spoken to him personally that morning to make the arrangements. The entire crowd applauded the milestone.

Listening to Stubbs on AM 650 means that there is information to be learned about classic country music as he is a walking encyclopedia on the stars who sang from the Ryman and made records that still resonate with a large swath of the nation.  This year Stubbs celebrates 20 years with The Air Castle of the South, WSM.

Unbeknownst to Stubbs, he was one of six people being auditioned to replace retiring “Opry” announcer Charlie Douglas. After two more weeks of auditions — “I prayed a lot, I know that.” — he landed the job, which began on June 23, 1995. “It means the world to me,” he said of his 20th anniversary.

“In retrospect, I feel like I got here at the end of an era, because when I became an announcer, Bill Monroe and Grandpa Jones and Hank Snow were all still hosting segments of the ‘Opry’ and were all in their early 80s,” he said. “They all were gone by the end of 1999. Being able to be around those people and to work with them was a humbling experience.”

There are only two announcers in “Opry” history who were there longer — Stubbs’ heroes Grant Turner, who was there 47 years, and Hairl Hensley, who was there 35 years.

He is quick to note that while his heroes are legends, he isn’t — which is perhaps the only fact in country music history that he has gotten wrong.

“I am just Eddie Stubbs,” he said. “That is all I know how to be. I know I am different from other folks. I have had the same hairstyle my whole life. I just have a little less on top now, and what is on the sides has gotten grayer over the years.”

The epitome of dignity, restraint and earnestness, Stubbs possesses a genteel manner from another era. He’s always impeccably dressed, usually in a suit and tie, and never seems to gain a pound on his tall, lean frame. The self-taught scholar is known at the “Opry” as the “walking encyclopedia of country music.”

‘Jesus Lady’ Makes Me Almost Feel Sorry For Speaker Boehner

June 25, 2015

As if the usual crazies in Speaker John Boehner’s Republican caucus are not enough to deal with each week comes news that the ‘Jesus Lady’ is ramping up her efforts to get a meeting.

Spiritual warrior Rita Warren can no longer hold her tongue about a perceived brush-off by Speaker John Boehner.

The career demonstrator, who displays her life-sized statue of Jesus Christ at the Capitol each and every week, provided HOH with an open letter demanding the Ohio Republican once and for all address her plan to have actor Robert Powell recite the sermon on the mount scene from “Jesus of Nazareth” for congressional lawmakers.

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Major Victories For President Obama!

June 25, 2015

This I what I like to see.

President Barack Obama’s enormous 6-3 win in the Supreme Court upholding subsidies nationwide for Obamacare — and preserving his signature domestic accomplishment — sets up what has the makings of the biggest week of his second term.

“The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said in a celebratory Rose Garden ceremony.

Obama also has his top legislative priority — fast-track Trade Promotion Authority — heading to his desk after a series of near-death experiences. The court will rule on legalizing same-sex marriage in the next few days, with the White House hoping for another big win.

And the White House also hopes to reach a deal with Iran in the coming days on its nuclear program.

Scott Walker Has Tough Road Ahead With Women Voters

June 25, 2015

It is not shocking after the way Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has treated women’s issues that he now has some serious blow-back as he attempts to become president. There are just too many sensible moderate voters who understand the need for women to have the freedom to make health care decisions with their doctors to then agree with rhetoric that passes from Walker’s lips.

What one has to watch with Walker is how he uses slippery language and the art of confusion when addressing matters that impact the lives of women.  Since there is no way to forthrightly make his pitch without digging his political hole even deeper with women he tries to dodge and duck.

Like every single other GOP presidential candidate, Scott Walker has absolutely no idea what to say when it comes to why he doesn’t support laws that ensure women are paid equally as men for equal work. So instead, Scott Walker employs the good ol’ trick of deflecting to talk about how Democrats measure their success by “how many people are dependent on the government, how many people are dependent, on whether it’s Medicaid or food stamps or health care or other things out there.” That’s right, instead of saying he believes women should be paid equally as men, Scott Walker calls women’s wages government handouts, fails to answer the question, and offends half of the human race.

The problem with Walker’s strategy is that there are not enough angry white men to catapult him into the White House.   He has angered and frustrated women for years and seems unable to find a way to communicate with them or come to terms with what they want from leaders regarding the issues they care about.

Walker may be in the top tier of Republican candidates–whatever that means–but given most polls show candidates clustered tightly with a mere difference of only a few percentage points separating them means that he is still a longshot for the nomination.  But once the balloting starts and moderate Republican women weigh in Walker will finally realize that his treatment of them was not his best political tactic.

Strong Court Ruling For Health Care Subsidies Is Bad News For Conservatives

June 25, 2015

Today President Obama and the American people secured a strong win when the Supreme Court ruled that the subsidies through the Affordable Health Care law are allowed for all citizens.

At the time of the hearing before the court in March I noted in my lead paragraph in a post on this blog that that the four liberals on the bench need Justice Kennedy, and that Chief  Justice Roberts said hardly a word.

What happened today was the broad and powerful ruling was written by Roberts, and Kennedy joined in the 6-3 ruling. I had also stated that in cases like this the intent of congress is paramount, and that is exactly what the judges decided.

Roberts—without saying so—must feel strongly that those people who have a beef about the health care law need to go out and win some elections. In other words Republicans cannot rely on the courts to do the work that should be done in the legislative branch.   Like so many others Roberts too must feel that this case should never have been started.

But the problem with the legislative route for conservatives is that more and more people are signing up for coverage under the law and it becomes ever more problematic in threatening to undo it.   People who are covered find the law not to be the awful tangle of fear and intrigue that conservatives have tired to paint it for so long.  The fear of Republicans that this law would be viewed as etched in stone is becoming more of a reality.  Following this ruling today that is the only logical conclusion.

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