Friday, November 11, 2016
Algeria In Iowa: "Because You Can't Be 'The Other' When You're A Part Of Us"
To ease this week's pain, a glimpse of the America that should be - the one we hoped we lived in, still out there in small, shining pockets. Elkader, Iowa, pop. 1,200-ish, is named for a 19th-century Algerian Muslim scholar/soldier/statesman and his struggle against the colonial French. Its popular Algerian-American restaurant is run by two gay guys - one Muslim - who believe in "the Statue of Liberty narrative." And this week it saw nearby anti-Trump protests arguing, "This is not our America."
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Thursday, November 10, 2016
Like Falling Ashes: Leonard Cohen Dies
Like we weren't feeling bereft enough, poet, singer and Buddhist monk Leonard Cohen has died at 82 after decades of writing, touring and praise as the "songwriter's songwriter." His final album last month was titled, "You Want It Darker." Now it is. One mournful fan quoted his lyric, "'Everybody knows that the good guys lost.' We really did. Trump is president and Leonard is dead." But Cohen never stopped seeking. "There is a crack in everything," he wrote. "That's how the light gets in."
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Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Keeping the Flame Alight
Dark day. And lots more coming. But amidst the tears and rage and shame we live in a country where hate, for now, has won, there's a resolve to move past the heartsickness, invoke our better angels, and keep fighting for what's right - per Joe Hill 's "Don't mourn - organize." Among the few glimpses of light - Arpaio, Duckworth, our own Pious Ali - the brightest may be the startlingly blue electoral map of America's young. "This," notes one hopeful observer, "is how the future voted."
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Sunday, November 6, 2016
This Is Your World
Thank God, almost done. Some final video nudges, elegant to profane, to remind you what's needed here and now: A gentle Three Pigs and Wolf metaphor from Stanley Tucci and Funny Or Die - "You got to come out, take a stand, stop the wolf" - a passionate, obscene, hilarious "Holy Sh*t You've Got To Vote" plea to stop the "orange talking STD" and "sentient septic tank" in our midst, and a revisit to Woody Guthrie's stubbornly patriotic avowal, "This is your world."
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Friday, November 4, 2016
Sing A New Song Unto the Lord: Arts Students Troll Westboro Heathens
Proclaiming "God Loves Jazz," up to 100 harmonious students of New York's Juilliard School turned out to joyfully confront a rabid handful of Westboro Churchers (sic) there protesting artists' "vanity" and "proud sin," which has inexorably "filled the nation with proud sodomites.” In violation of all that is decent, the jubilant and no doubt promiscuous students sang, marched and played string versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Amazing Grace” to show, "We have nothing but love."
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Thursday, November 3, 2016
RIP Papa, This One's For You
When the Cubs pulled out their first World Series win in 108 years, Chicago native Wayne Williams kept his side of a decades-old pact with his father: He drove 650 miles from North Carolina to Wayne Sr.'s Indiana grave to watch and quietly celebrate the victory together, just like they said they would. Many other Cubs fans likewise marked the win by honoring, with a chalk-inscribed memorial wall at Wrigley, those who didn't live to see it. "My parents are gone," said one. "But they're here."
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016
We Are (Possibly) Better Than This
Another sliver-of-hope-within-the-abyss kind of day. In the latest attack on the historic heart of the black community, an unknown cretin (or group of same) torched the all-black Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Miss. and painted "Vote Trump" on its side. After the "direct assault on black folks," an online fund for repairs was set up to show that "we, as a society, are better than this." Its goal was $10,000; in two days, it's raised almost $200,000.
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Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Bernie Is So Not Done
If you're feeling bereft, take note: Bernie Sanders is still out there fighting the good fight, Tuesday blasting the avarice of Big Pharma so compellingly that he sent their stock prices plunging to a seven-month low. In a Tweetstorm accusing Eli Lilly of price-gouging diabetes patients with insulin prices up 700% over 20 years - and in his support of a California bill to set price ceilings - a still-pissed, plain-speaking, tireless Bernie insisted, "It's time to end their greed.”
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Monday, October 31, 2016
The Beast and Beauty: Trump Is More Awful Than We Knew But the World Is More Splendid Than Ever
The day's sordid Trump Dump boggles the mind: One of our two presidential candidates has for decades trashed emails and documents in defiance of court orders, has a secret server talking to Russia, just stiffed his pollster, is accused of tax fraud in Mexico, and is charged with brutally raping a 13-year-old girl, one of multiple victims. On the flip side, the newly announced Siena International Photo Awards reveal a lush, vast, bounteous world that will, please God, survive him, and endure.
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Friday, October 28, 2016
Criming While White Vs. Saving What Is Truly Sacred In This World
This week gave us an appalling view of American "justice" in all its white privilege and cognitive dissonance: The acquittal of a bunch of ignorant, armed, white, male hooligans who laid boisterous claim to Oregon land that was never theirs, and the tear-gassing, shooting and arrest of peaceful, praying Standing Rock Sioux seeking to protect their own revered land/water from destruction - to "do something good and right." After 500 brutal years, shame, America, again.
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