What a difference a year makes. Last September, the Obama administration and the media were cheering happenstance as victory. A quick review of last year's events: the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilians, tough talk by President Barack Obama, an administration push for a congressional vote for use of force, Secretary of State John Kerry's off-the-cuff remark regarding Syria giving up chemical weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin leveraging the remark into action, the Obama administration claiming a great solution.
A recent column on Vox.com may have inadvertently highlighted the gap between the nation's political elites and the rest of the nation. Vox is an "explanatory journalism" site founded by former Washington Post columnist and blogger Ezra Klein.
Can it be? Is it September already? One of my favorite tunes, "September Song," was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for a Broadway musical in 1938 called "Knickerbocker Holiday. The lyrics could apply today to the current political season in Georgia - "For it's a long, long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September."
America rarely does time capsules anymore, but the ones it does should include videos from February 2011 of American TV reporters exulting in the triumph of the Arab Spring. "This is the sound of a people rising," ABC's Terry Moran told us from Cairo. For Egyptians, it was a day "when a people rose and made themselves a new country, a new world, a new life."
Though racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn't, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let's pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.
As the character Cecily said to Miss Fairfax in a play written by Oscar Wilde entitled "The Importance of being Earnest": "When I see a spade I call it a spade."
The news from Ferguson, Missouri, has brought back unpleasant memories from the long-ago riots in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was the summer of 1970, and I was a young teenager close enough to the action to be appropriately frightened.
My first paying job was cleaning the bathrooms at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Georgia, where I was a member. I was 14, the minimum age for "children" to work. This was neither glamorous nor exciting work, but useful and needed work. On Sundays I often over heard the "little old ladies" of the church commenting on the cleanliness of the bathroom. I remember my subsequent feeling of pride. While not a glamorous work, my actions were helpful and appreciated by those who used the facilities. For providing this useful service I earned minimum wage in 1981, ($3.35 ...
It is a potential killer whose numbers rival the deadly Ebola virus and it doesn't get near the attention it should. Unlike the dreaded illness currently ravaging West Africa this is one with a quick cure.
As Hannah Arendt foresaw, we are once again up against the question of evil. An American photojournalist, James Foley, was presented to the camera and methodically decapitated. The instrument was not the ax reserved for royalty or the whooshing blade prompted by that reformer Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, but an ordinary looking knife. Death would be neither swift nor painless. This, somewhere in the bleached desert, was pure evil.
This summer has served as a reminder to me about the virtue of virtues, specifically hard work and perseverance. Last winter, our 12-year-old son, Robert, was accepted into an honors performance group as a string bass player, based on his teacher's recommendation and an MP3 submission of his playing. In May, he was sent four pieces of music to master by late June, when he was to perform them in New York.
"I have gotten bad news and am much the worse for it.
They had a term for her, but I've forgotten it. It was a name applied to a person who could not say no to a door-to-door salesman. The one I remember from my brief career selling magazines was totally upfront about her intentions. "I'll buy whatever you're selling," she said. I sold her Esquire and two other subscriptions. Salesmen back then had a name for such people. Today, I would call them conservatives. They, too, will buy anything.
One of the advantages of being an older baby boomer is that your mind can easily wander back to days of your youth and every detail of those experiences can be seen as clearly as if you were still that age.
In his weekly column for CNN.com, Julian Zelizer makes a reasonable case that "Distrustful Americans still live in age of Watergate." In his eyes, this helps explain why the president's health care law and other initiatives have encountered so much resistance.
In a piece titled, "They're Not Telling Us The Truth," I wrote: "Clinton, Bush and Obama, et al, have positioned us in harm's way by providing an accommodating environment for these illegal disease carriers. It is not my contention that everyone who crosses the border illegally is diseased or a disease carrier. I am saying, the fact that we do not know which ones are and which ones are not puts us in peril...I confess that when I walk into an uptown restaurant and see illegals in the kitchen or busing tables, I am concerned." (mychal-massie.com ...
Based on this fiscal year's eight-and-a-half months of activity so far, the number of unaccompanied alien children from Honduras apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol will increase 22 times from what it was in 2009.
FADE IN: Michael Corleone's den.
With the July 22 runoff elections fast approaching, I called Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, to get his thoughts on the various races and to see who he thinks will make it to the finals of the November general election and who will be eliminated this round.
I would like to provide a brief history on the intent and origin of the 2050 Plan that I think is important as we begin the public input sessions on the Base Line Ordinances (BLO).
Happy Fourth of July!
We declared our independence from Great Britain 238 years ago this week. It was a declaration long in coming, brought about by the overreaching rule of King George III and Britain's insistence on taxation without representation.
I wonder how Leroy Jones, the black Chairman of the Essex County Democrat Committee, looks at himself in the mirror. I wonder how he looks at his family and the members of his community. I wonder how he feels as he sits in the pews of the black church he attends, and how he feels while sitting in the black barbershop. More specifically, I wonder how the people of Essex County, New Jersey as a whole, feel about Jones.
A friend of mine worked for a small-town newspaper years ago and had to write the weather report. The county fair was approaching but the prediction was for rain. So the editors, fearing the wrath of local merchants, ordered my friend to change "rainy" to "sunny." That was the newspaper's policy. It has since been adopted by much of the Republican Party.
The things you learn while surfing the Internet in desperation for column material. Did you know that there is a National Association for the Humor-Impaired? May Jimmy Carter (speaking of the humor-impaired) wash my socks if I am not telling the truth.