Thursday, September 24, 2020

Spin Doctor

 Seems odd 

a spin doctor would be

put in charge of health,

and human services would require

such alchemy as what we see in politics

trumpified usa have gone

caput oh

woe is we

we spin

round and round we spin

and where we stop

nobody knows

covidized an


where we stop

nobody knows


back at the stanch

here comes dreaded no-knock

arrest it comes a-


at breonna’s door


while that ancient no-knock 

spin doctor comes

tik-tokkin’ at

our door

while newfangled A-eye 

comes eye-spyin’

at our no-knock door.


One can only pray


somethin’ better


somewhere over the rainbow.

Glass half-Full

Monday, September 21, 2020

We Need Moderate


I hope President Trump does the right thing—the smart thing—by nominating a moderate judge to the Supreme Court.

A moderate nominee would be a judge whose legal reasoning and record reflects the actual Rule of Law in our nation, not politics.

Nominating a judicial candidate whose record demonstrates a wise command of precedent, as well as actual justice and fairness—this would be the right thing to do.

It would also be the smart thing to do because a judge of moderate sensibilities would more likely be approved by the handful of moderate Senators whose votes will be critical in the Senate appointment procedure.

On the other hand, the President—who is known to be excessively manipulative and self-obsessed—may decide to delay the appointment for selfish reasons. Trump probably figures that moderate Republicans (such as me) would be more likely to reconsider their opposition to his presidency—and maybe even vote for him for the sake of tipping the Court in a conservative direction.

But I am here to tell you that I will not be voting for Trump just because of issues surrounding the Supreme Court. 

We need to fire this clumsy, incompetent prez. But even so, he's got one last chance to make an impact in the judicial realm.

If I have to, I’ll take my chances on Joe Biden’s choice for the Supreme Court, thank you.

But if Donald Trump wants to take a shot at influencing the Court’s balancing act one more time—he needs to go ahead and do so.

This country is presently too strung-out with extremist politics and activism on both sides. We need a moderate Supreme Court to keep the ship of State on an even keel and a steady course of liberty and justice for all.


Glass half-Full 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Remnant from an Old Book

Every now and then in an age of overburdened media fluff, an old .doc will show up with some relevance:

Old Scroll

"The Man opened the scroll and found the place where it is written,

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.'

"And he closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all were upon him, and he began saying to them: 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.' ”

Every now and then in an age of overburdened social media, an old .doc shows up with some relevance. Who knew?

Glass half-Full 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Freedom Summer 1964

Hearing Meghna Chakrabarti's On Point roundtable discussion this morning reminded me of The Freedom Summer. During that college vacation three months in 1964, young people from across the nation went down to the dangerous Deep South to help black voters get registered. 

Meghna's primary guest today was Bob Moses, a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during that 1960's time of nation-shaking Civil Rights progress.

Bob Moses

In 2017, I included a paragraph about Bob and his compatriots in my novel, King of Soul. The early chapters take place in Jackson, Mississippi, where I was living and attending grade school. Some of these scenes are quasi-autobiographic.

Here's an excerpt from chapter 5, in which Bob Moses is mentioned:

        But Liberty and Justice for All is not something that just happens.

        As compatriots with liberation and deliverance, liberty and justice emerge triumphant from the very embattlements of human history. Where their zealous advocates manage to grab some foothold in the landscape of human struggle, freedom is fleeting not far behind. Noble aspirations are all summoned up when the careless slayings of men demand value more sacred, more holy, than the mere clashing of weapons and the expiration of breathing bodies.

        In our present exploration’s story, the bad news is: there is an inevitable outflow—the shedding of blood—which propels violence to ever higher levels of atrocity.

        The good news is: where there’s shedding of blood, Soul is not far beneath.

        In the summer of 1964, all of these elements of human struggle converged in an unprecedented way. Way down south, in the piney woods and  sweltering fields of Mississippi, a new activist strain of blood-red camellia was taking root in that freshly-tilled civil rights black delta loam. As God had heard the cry of Abel’s blood arising from Edenic soil, he heard now the beckoning of enshrouded laborers, those dead and these living. Their muted cries called forth  liberation; they demanded deliverance.

        So while black folk of the deep South were struggling to register their right to vote as Americans, a vast brigade of like-minded souls from other regions caught a whiff of their newly-planted liberty, and so the new brigades took it upon themselves to go down to Mississippi and lend a hand.

          Go down, Moses, was the call. Go down, collective Moses.

        There were many who heard that call; there was even a man named Moses, Bob Moses from Harlem.  He, and others who stood with him against discrimination, planted themselves in Mississippi at the crossroads of injustice and opportunity. Down here in the verdant lap of Dixie where the honeysuckles twine sweetly and the slaves had mourned bitterly, a battalion  of wayfaring strangers from far and near came to cultivate the new growth of freedom.

        They were filling a void in the whole of the human soul. Robbed of freedom, the Soul of Man wails out a distress call; then in regions afar, the Soul of Man hears, and resonates with action.  Deep calls unto deep.

        In Berkeley California, Michael Savola answered the call. He knew about the work of the NAACP. He had heard the battle-cry, had felt those deep twelve-bar blues jangling through his heart and across his brain. When Michael got to Mississippi, the civil rights pioneers took him by the hand and lead him into a little church. For the first time ever he felt the flesh and blood plaintive chant of Negroes; they were singing”:

The truth will make us free,

The truth will make us free,

The truth will make us free some day.

Oh deep in my heart I do believe

The truth will make us free some day. 

        In New York City, Andrew Schumer answered the call. He had heard about the work of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. He had been told of the struggle, had caught the prickly blue-note riff of tragedy; it had morphed as a thorn, a thorn to pierce his comfortable heart of white entitlement. When Andrew got to Mississippi, he wandered into a dusty colored-town boulevard where right there on the sidewalk folks was gathered to do business with the wider world. Now he witnessed the fleshing out of what had been, up until now, mere conceptual liberation. He saw it and heard it in a new way, the tune he had heard before and now heard again for the first time:

We shall overcome.

We shall overcome.

We shall overcome someday.

Oh, deep in my heart I do believe

We shall overcome someday.

        In Detroit, Tyrone Haydn answered the call. He had read about the great struggle in the newspaper; had heard about it through the grapevine of insatiable youthful idealism, he had  informed himself about the plight of the blacks down South. Now he involved himself as a volunteer in the struggles of the CORE, SNCC, SCLC and COFO. He felt a kinship with them, and, even further along in prescience,  he would sense, in due time, a connection between their dark pain and the anguished Asian faces of war-torn Vietnamese villagers.

King of Soul 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Things Fall Apart

In 1919, when it seemed the whole world had just damn near been blown apart beyond repair, the Irish poet W.B. Yeats wrote:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are filled with passionate intensity.


In 2020, although the numbers are bigger, the electrons are faster and the people are undoubtedly smarter, we . . .

having learned the great lessons of the War to end all Wars, and then having learned, 20 years later, the necessity of driving the nazis and fascists back into their holes,

and then after another 40 years, having learned the lesson that Cold War is less lethal than hot war, but far more frustrating and probably more mentally and psychologically debilitating than the old hot war scenario . . .

we find ourselves once again in a situation where it appears that:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

. . .and although the blood-dimmed tide is not completely loosed again, God forbid that it should be. 

But the extremist tail-ends of both sides are once again back to their old tricks: fomenting discord and confusion; the boogaloos and antifas foaming at the mouth to drum up some fresh blood and mayhem, and thereby to realize on reality tv all the blood and gore we’ve been seeing on degenerate entertainment screens since psycho in the ’50’s when I was but a kindergartner . . .

and meanwhile back at the inevitable  crash scene

the republicans have blown their wad reigning down megalopoly money at the top to trickle down, and they’ve used all their monetary tricks so that now they’re out of aces and turning to a donald duck bundle of sticks scenario, so that now we come to discover

it’s time to let  the democrats sit in the hot seat for awhile so they can do their thing and throw money at the bottom end so it percolates up as the greenbacks become more and more irrelevant and everybody gets a meal ticket and a green card while the 1%ers hunker down somewhere

and I, trying to sleep, evading the midnight menace, turn to the pages of history for understanding, only to uncover, alas, more discouraging old-news. . .

the blood-dimmed tide of innocence is (still) loosed upon the world;

and as the blood-drained son of man was crucified, 

in Washington the ceremony of liberty was assassinated . . .


(from a biography of Frederick Douglass, There Once Was a Slave, by Shirley Graham in 1947)

Things are forever falling apart; the center cannot hold, and yet . . . and yet . . .

Good luck with that!

King of Soul 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Sister Letetra's Plea for Change

 At the age 29, Jacob Blake was shot by Kenosha police who were arresting him in connection with a domestic dispute.

Now he is paralyzed.

Of the seven shots fired at Jacob, four struck his back, as he was opening the driver’s door of his vehicle.

The shots ripped into his flesh as three of Jacob’s sons were sitting in the back seat.

In the aftermath, in the after-wrath, two days later, among the many words spoken surrounding this incident, were these, spoken at a news conference . . . the message of Letetra Widman, Jacob’s sister:


“I am my brother’s keeper, 

and when you say the name . . . Jacob Blake,

make sure you say father

make sure you say cousin

make sure you say son

make sure you say uncle,

but most importantly, make sure you say:


Human life—let it marinate in your mouth, in your minds

a human life just like just like every single one of y’all . . .

and everywhere.

We’re human, and his life matters!

So many people have reached out to me,

telling me that they’re sorry that this happened to my family.

Well, don’t be sorry, ‘cause this has been happening

to my family for a long time . . . longer than I can account for.

It happened to Emmitt Till; Emmett Till is my family . . .

for Orlando, Mike Brown, Sandra . . .

this has been happening to my family,

and I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that it’s happened to.

I’m not sad. I don’t want your pity. I want change.”


Letetra’s call for change is now added to the mounting groundswell of demand for justice in the treatment of minorities in this country, especially in matters of law enforcement.

In these United States, 

we have Constitutionally- mandated principles that prescribe how justice is to be administered by courts of law, and by officers of the law. 

We have legislated laws and judicial precedents that prescribe legal procedures for arrest of suspected criminals and offenders.

For too long . . . since the days of their emancipation from slavery, black citizens have endured constant neglect of our lawful procedures of arrest.

In recent months, especially since the slaying of George Floyd, our national attention has been directed by active citizens on systemic neglect of legal procedures.

As everybody knows, the passion and frequency of organized protest has intensified steadily. Now we have another national incident in this continuing string of bungled, shot-up, seriously injurious, improperly violent arrests.

And it is true in this case and in many recent law enforcement mishaps. . . that violent, law-defying, depraved extremists of both antifa and bugaloo ilks have taken it upon themselves to jump on board the protest bandwagon and divert it, by their own violence and destruction, toward their own anarchic purposes.

There are extremists on both sides whose intention is to ignite a civil war between Left and Right in this nation.

We, the law-abiding citizens of these United States, must not let them.

Republicans—God bless ‘em, I am one of them—are too damn focused on their own comfort and privilege to allow their own eyes to see the weightier matters of the law. 

Neglect not, brothers and sisters, the weightier matters of the Law: 

Justice, and Mercy and Faithfulness.

We need to work together toward the “change” of which Jacob’s sister, Letetra, speaks.

But even more potent than her well-chosen words are those words found in the counsel of Jesus. They go way back . . .

“. . . for I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; naked, and you clothed me. I was in prison, and you came to me.”

And those who heard these words said . . . say what? when did we do all that stuff ?

“. . . whenever you did it to them, you did it to me!”

So all ye comfortable goody-two-shoes g.o.p. types out there, don’t forget to heed all the words of the ancient Book.

Quit obsessing about peace and safety. If you get too bent out of shape about peace and safety, sudden destruction will come upon you.

Don’t allow the fringified crazies that you’re so obsessed with blow this whole democratic-republican experiment all to hell!


Listen to the voice of one crying in the flyover wilderness, concerning yet another illegally-shot-up arrest:

“I don’t want your pity. I want change.” 

King of Soul

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Big Crab Little Crab

 I was feeling quite crabby about the state of our Union, when I came across this recent jpeg that captures in imagery our present conniption.

Here we see the party of the Left as it closes in on what is left of that minuscule grand ole party of the Right, of which I once was a member.  In its present state, the formerly principled party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan is hemmed into a dead end. 

The Crabs

Alas, in the intense confrontation currently enacted, our cowering conservative is shell-shocked, shell-locked and clueless.

The little guy appears to be surrounded on three sides by the walls that trump built.

Glass half-Full