Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fwd: MARCH 30, 3013

      Here we are at another religious holiday--but like most of our religious holidays, Easter has acquired some other personalities over the years.

     Christmas originally celebrated--and still does, of course, the birth of Christ.  But those who are less religious can worry happily about gifts and decorating trees. Thanksgiving originally was thanking God for the Pilgrims' survival in a sometimes harsh land.  Food mattered in that survival, of course, but it's really taken over the day now--more emphasis on turkey and fixings than on thanks for survival.  The Pilgrims were giving thanks in a New England winter;  you know they meant it.

     Easter is similar.
 It began among Christians as a celebration of Jesus' revival and ascent into heaven.  It still is that, of course, but for some of them and for many other Americans, it is also a celebration of spring, renewal--fancy eggs and bunnies in funny hats.

     Maybe what all the holidays add up to is a celebration of our diversity, of how many traditions we can happily observe.

     Happy whatever.       



Friday, March 29, 2013

Fwd: MARCH 28, 2013

Well, I guess the Supreme Court has decided not to mess with same-sex marriage, but to leave it to the states.  Several--I think eight, maybe nine--have approved it. Many more--thirty-something--have laws against it, but the number of states appoving it is the one that's going up.  A trend, I think.


It's a trend that conforms to an old prejudice of mine--namely, that there are many things for which you don't need a law.

Want to dye your hair blue?  Go ahead.  If you don't, don't.  Want to eat only vegetables?  Or worship according to a religion you invented?  Fine.  If not, also fine.

When you need a law, I think--trials and punishments and all that--is when what you want to do will hurt someone else--burn down your neighbor's house, shoot him, that kind of thing.  Of course we shouldn't be free to act like that.

So I'm for where I think the Court will wind up, guided, it seems from the newspaper reports, by it's supreme authority on this issue, Justice Kennedy.  Four liberals, four conservatives, and a Kennedy.  Sounds like a decision to me, 


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MARCH 19, 2013

      This column was about same-sex marriage yesterday.  I'm sure that's not why, but support for such marriages seems to be growing.  A new Washington Post poll shows 58% supporting it.  In 2006, the Post says, opponents outnumbered backers by double digits, 58--36.

     Republicans still oppose same-sex  marriages, but the Post says those under 50 narrowly approve it.

     Obviously, some Americans have changed their minds on this issue.
 One example is Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who opposed same-sex marriage--voted against it.  This week he's for it.  Portman's switch comes two years after his son told him he's gay.

     And former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is for it.
 "I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples," she said.  Back when she was running for president, some years ago, she was for them but called them civil unions.

"The times they are a-changin'."   The Supreme Court will hear arguments that could affect this.  Wow.



MARCH 18, 2013


The newspaper says the Supreme Court will rule soon on whether same-sex marriage is legal.  This column is to suggest that they not bother;  take the day off instead.  California has already ruled it illegal;  I wish they'd take that back too.

My point is simply that many issues don't need a law;
 they are issues people can decide for themselves.

We have, for instance, freedom of speech
.  If you want to call the president a jerk--or a genius--you can, you don't need a law.  If you want to go out only with blondes, same thing, you can.  Lots of things are up to each of us, not the government.

So, if you're a man who wants only to marry a
man, or a woman who wants only to marry a woman, I say, go ahead.  If you want children, you'll adopt them;  you wanted them and will probably raise them well.  Marriage is about loving and caring for one another.  What you do about sex is nobody's business but your own.

So no law, thank you
.  This is one we can solve for ourselves.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

MARCH 7, 2013

      This column doesn't come with a headline and I usually think that's fine, but today I wouldn't mind one.  "Oh no!" would be good. The story--a third member of the Bush family is thinking about running for president.  Sit down, please, I know it's a shock.

     The new possible candidate:
 Jeb Bush, 60, former governor of Florida.  How do we know he's running, or at least trotting?  The Washington Post reports "a new book, wall-to-wall television interviews, and a round of public speaking engagements."  A political advisor says Bush "will seriously think about it."  I might giggle.  I might cry.  Bush will think.  The quote is, "I'm not saying yes, I'm just not saying no."

 His father angered some in the party by pledging no new taxes, asking us to "read my lips," and then breaking that pledge.  His brother, the Post notes, left office as "a deeply unpopular president."  I certainly agree with that--worst in my lifetime, I think.  Considering my age, that's saying something.

     Yes, we
survived two Bushes, but could we manage a third?  I hope I never find out. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

MARCH 3, 2013

     Once upon a time there roamed a fearsome monster called the
Snuffleupagus.  Well, I think that's how it was spelled;  it was a long time ago.  Now its cousin, or maybe its grandson, walks among us again.  It, of course, is called the sequester.

     It's useful;
 you can blame it for damn near anything.  The budget is wacky--blame the sequester.  Congress is spending too much, or too little--blame the sequester.  Congress exists at allblameyes, you've got it.  Or maybe it's all the the president's fault.  Okay, he's the sequester's fault too.  Is he its daddy?  Or is the Congress?  No matter, there's enough sequester to go around.  Like blame, don't you see?

     What do we do?
 We can't shoot it;  it's too big and besides the gun control lobby might object.

     Maybe if we chanted magic words to make a spell?
 You know--deficit spending, economic agenda, self-financing--like that.  Or maybe not.  Just be polite and maybe we can wait it out.

     Welcome, sequestration.
 Have a nice (short??) visit.



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fwd: FEBRUARY 28, 2013

     She's an ordinary looking woman--in the statue and, I guess, in life.   We honor Rosa Parks because she did a simple, heroic thing.  She took a seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus back in 1955.  When told to to get up, it was a seat for whites, Parks, who was black, refused and was arrested.

     The demonstrations which followed made national figures of Parks, an unknown seamstress, and a young minister, Martin Luther King.
  America changed and they are part of the reaon why.  A year later the Supreme Court ruled that Alabama law unconstitutional.

    Parks used to talk about her exchange with the cop on the bus. "I said
,  'Why do you push us around?'  He said, 'I do not know but the law is the law and you are under arrest.'"  Now she has a nine-foot statue in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, the first black woman so honored.


     Ironically, on the very day, at the very time the statue was dedicated the Supreme Court justices across the street were hearing arguments for and against parts of the Voting Rights Act.  President Obama, at the dedication, said: "Rosa Parks tells us we all have responsibities, to ourselves and to one another."

     Still true, Ms. Parks
.  Let's hope The Supremes remember.

Friday, March 1, 2013

FEBRUARY 26, 2013

I turned on the TV the other day, and there was a baseball game.  My first reaction was, "Wow!"  Yes, it's that time of year again.   I like sports--football, basketball, and so on.  Maybe I like watching them because as a kid I was so bad at playing them.

My father was a fan;  maybe that's why I was as a kid.  We lived in Chicago.  His team, therefore mine, was the Cubs.  As a grownup--in this column--I tend to describe them with three "h"s--hapless, helpless, and hopeless.  They weren't so bad back then--they won the pennant in, I think, 1945, though they stayed true to form by losing the World Series to, I think, the Detroit Tigers in, I think, seven games.

Oh well.   Here we go again.  Do old Cub ghosts--a brilliant third baseman named Stan Hack, a sometimes slugging outfielder who nickname was "Swish" --do they get to watch?  The Cubs, by the way, haven't won a pennant since '45..

The Washington team--the Nationals--made the playoffs last year but not--it's more complicated now--the Series.  This year?  Ya gotta have hope.  That's part of the charm.   . 


Fwd: FEBRUARY 25, 2013

    I say this with great hesitancy, but it's beginning, just beginning, to look as if some modest, very modest, gun control legislation might pass this year.  I know, I know it's a long shot.  I did say "might." 

   E.J. Dionne, a columnist not famous for fairy tales, says in today's Washigton Post, "This week Patrick Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is expected to announce plans to start marking up gun bills to be sent to the Senate floor."  Wow.

    No one will sugges
t banning guns.  The Second Amendment to the Constitution forbids that:  "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." 
     What's being talked about are smaller changes--ban magazines with very large numbers of bullets, req
uire background checks of would-be buyers, and the like.

     Gun control has always lost in America.
 This time?  We can only wait and see.