Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Offensive Art!

This could be an Only in San Francisco story, but I think the same kind of ridiculous behavior is all around us.

There is a mural in a local high school painted in the 1930’s that some politically correct progressives find offensive.  So they want to get rid of it, destroy it, get it away from the impressionable eyes of our young people.

Why do they find it offensive?  It depicts a scene in 18th century America and shows some black slaves and Native Americans in a demeaning way, being treated badly.  Hello, everyone!  Is what is shown inaccurate?  Not likely.  True, it is a reminder of what a lot of people would like to forget.  Especially these days, when racism and nativism is front and center in our society.

But is the answer about how to deal with this reality to shut our eyes to we won’t see, put our hands over our ears so we won’t hear, make sure the kids aren’t exposed to our bad history?  No!  Just the reverse.  We should highlight this stuff, not shy away from it.

We’re told it will cost $600,000 to destroy the mural.  Where that number comes from I have no idea.  Seems like you can buy a lot of black paint for $600,000.  Some say don’t destroy it – hide it from view.  Others want to have the issue up as a ballot initiative next year.

An appropriate analogy is Hitler burning books to protect people from ‘offensive’ ideas.  Good luck to us if we choose to go down this slippery slope.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

What Happened on This Day!

On July 9, 1401, Turko-Mongol ruler Tamerlane destroyed Baghdad.

On July 9, 1790, in the Russo-Swedish War the Swedes captured one third of the Russian fleet.

On July 9, 1868, Tennessee and South Carolina ratified the 14th Amendment guaranteeing civil rights.

On July 9, 1971, Henry Kissinger visited the People’s Republic of China to negotiate a détente between the U.S. and China.

On July 9, 2002, the African Union was established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

On July 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimed victory over ISIS in Mosul.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Shameful - We Can Do Better!

The picture needs no words.  Father and daughter, face down, drowned, died trying to cross the Rio Grande into our country.  Shameful – We Can Do Better!

Inequality is endemic in what is supposed to be our system of justice.  Innocent people, mostly black or brown, incarcerated.  Poor people, mostly black or brown, incarcerated.  We lead the world in the number of people, mostly black or brown, locked up.  Shameful – We Can Do Better!

Speaking of inequality, there is greater than ever income inequality.  Those with less getting less.  Those with more getting more.  The gap widens.  Shameful – We Can Do Better!

Not a day goes by without there being multiple deaths thanks to guns.  If the slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook didn’t lead to common sense gun laws, nothing will.  So I’m not optimistic anything will change anytime soon.  Shameful – We Can Do Better!

Walk the streets of any American city and you will need to walk around homeless people.  There are more in some places than others, but no city is exempt.  Too few shelters and housing.  Insufficient medical care.  Lack of food.  An epidemic of drugs.  Shameful – We Can Do Better!

And the list goes on . . . Shameful! 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Tonkin One More Time?

The rush to judgment last week blaming Iran for attacking two oil tankers has a suspicious sound to it:  Finding or setting up circumstances that for hawks justify going to war.  Some of you are old enough to remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964.  In controversial circumstances the North Vietnamese were accused of attacking some American warships.  Lyndon Johnson used it as an excuse for having Congress authorize him to up the war in Vietnam.

We saw the same thing happen when Bush accused Iraq of having weapons of mass destruction.

Bingo!  The bad guys won’t get away with it.  We’ll show ‘em.  They are a threat and we have to take action.  The drumbeat for war gets louder.  And indeed, in Vietnam and Iraq war followed.

Iran may not be blameless.  But even if true, that’s not the point.  Taking military action against them should be the last not the first resort.  A war with Iran is not the answer.  It would make our other recent unnecessary wars pale in comparison.

Very bad idea!

Thursday, June 06, 2019


I was 11 years old on June 6, 1944.  By then most of my conscious life had been lived during a time of war.  That’s what consumed us.  I wondered what people would talk about, what the news of the day would be, if we didn’t have the war.  Later, of course, I was to find that there is always stuff people want to talk about, often petty, but enough to pass as news.

I don’t remember specific details from that long ago June day, but I do remember a feeling I had as we learned about what was happening on those French beaches.  It was pride.  I was proud that the good guys were beating the bad guys.  I was proud it was America leading the way.  It felt like we all had a part in making this happen, we were united with our friends and neighbors, united as Americans.

Seventy-five years later it is different.  We are not united.  We are not leading the way.  We are not a country to be proud of.  To much of the world we are the bad guys.  I don’t like it this way.  I’d like to have my boyhood pride back.  Will that happen?  I wouldn’t say never, but I’m not optimistic.