Thursday December 12, 2013
Archive - Aug 2013
Let Rand Paul have his epic filibuster and Ted Cruz his scowling threats to shut down the government. Let Chris Christie thunder to a second term as the governor of New Jersey, his hubris flowering as his ultimate designs on the White House take shape.
Last month I was in Accra, Ghana, to learn more about the African version of the new charismatic Christian churches that have become so popular in the United States and are now proliferating in sub-Saharan Africa, especially Ghana and Nigeria. What struck me was how much people spoke in tongues: language-like sounds (usually, repeated phonemes from the speaker's own language) thought by those who use them to be a language God knows but the speaker does not.
I thought I'd never live to see the day. But now it's happened. An attorney general of the United States has finally said he is ready to blow the whistle on America's ill-fated, racially tinged and cruelly applied "war on drugs."
Compared to other criminally convicted politicians that I have seen, which is a lot, Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi got off easy. But their case also stands out as more tragically bizarre and more pitiful.
Recently Sen. Rand Paul, potential presidential candidate and self-proclaimed expert on monetary issues, sat down for an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. It didn't go too well. For example, Paul talked about America running "a trillion-dollar deficit every year"; actually, the deficit is projected to be only $642 billion in 2013, and it's falling fast.
Democrats and Republicans, bracing for a game of chicken over a possible government shutdown and a debt-ceiling default, should rewatch the 1955 movie, "Rebel Without a Cause," starring the American icon James Dean.
Imagine this: It's the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. A huge television event, watched the world over. The U.S. Olympians join the proud march of nations. They're our emissaries, our exemplars. And as the television cameras zoom in on Team USA, one of its members quietly pulls out a rainbow flag, no bigger than a handkerchief, and holds it up. Not ostentatiously high, but just high enough that it can't be mistaken.
Sarah Palin spun the applause meter at the 2008 Republican National Convention when she quoted Ronald Reagan:
"You and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children's children, what it once was like in America when men were free."
One wonders what the meter would have read if Palin pointed out that Reagan said those words to warn against the freedom-hating menace of Medicare.
Aug. 6 marks 68 years since the United States committed what is arguably the single gravest act of terrorism that the world has ever known. Terrorism means the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, and targeted they were, with the cutely named "Little Boy" atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at a location and time of day when, as the Strategic Bombing Survey commissioned by President Harry Truman conceded, "nearly all the school children ... were at work in the open," a perfect opportunity for mass incineration.
Secretary of State John Kerry has pulled off a major achievement in getting Israelis and Palestinians to say yes to the United States. Can he now get them to say yes to each other?