Colonial Americans celebrated voting because it was new and radical. How do we recapture that enthusiasm for the revolutionary act of voting? We can start by making Election Day fun again, a national holiday that embraces consumerism as well as the commonweal.
In the tornado-like news cycle under President TwitterDee (aka TwitterDum), telling issues have a shorter lifespan than mayflies, one OMG moment is quickly eclipsed by next, ad nauseam, whether it’s about the leader of the free world cozying up to Vlad the Impaler or a porn star. One wonders how many TwitterDee devotees are opposed to mother’s milk. His administration is.
Have we gotten used to the unprecedented and un-presidential antics of President Bluster? Have we grown accustomed to his outrages de jour: his nasty comments about friends and foes alike? His slurring of geopolitical allies, even as he gives a pass to America’s adversaries? Or how about his penchant for telling three whoppers before his first Happy Meal of the day? It’s hard to keep track the antics of this modern Peck’s Bad Boy.
On this Memorial Day, a Connecticut writer remembers his great uncle who, like millions of others, made the ultimate sacrifice against tyranny and oppression.
Captain William George Gabain, my great uncle, died 100 years ago in the Great War, now known as World War I. He was killed in action in northern France, as he was trying to make sure that all of his men had heard the order to withdraw in the face of an overwhelming German advance. He and several other soldiers in The Rifle Brigade of the British Expeditionary Force were last seen surrounded by enemy troops.
Here in Connecticut, we pay less and less attention to the natural world every year and it shows. State and federal researchers recently gave our coastline a grade of 27, or “fair,” on a scale that designates 50 and above as “good.” We have fallen behind on our goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving open space. More than two-thirds of our rivers are unsafe for swimming. Lobsters have all but disappeared from Long Island Sound, a quarter of whose warming waters now have inadequate oxygen or extreme hypoxia.
It’s official: everything is in play with President Pumpkin Head in the White House. My prediction for the remainder of 2018 is more chaos and more nicknames from (and for) our Name Caller-in-Chief.
It would be difficult to conjure a more arresting rebuke to the current rash of racists and white nationalists —and their enablers in high places— than to remember the life of Les Payne, 76, who died on March 19. Payne, who attended Hartford High School and the University of Connecticut and served his country in Vietnam, rose from challenging circumstances to become a journalist of the highest rank: an investigative reporter, editor and columnist who won one Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for another.
It’s all set, except for every imaginable detail you can think of. President Donald Trump and the “Dear One” will be meeting sometime or other somewhere or other to palaver about TBD.
For the record, “Dear One” refers to Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea —not some participant in, as the song goes, a “third rate romance/low rent rendezvous.”
My brother-in-law, Jay, has heard enough and doesn’t want to hear another word, one in particular. No more conversations dominated by the “T-word.” Ever!
Blather on about the weather, the Olympics, the price tea in China, my recent colonoscopy, Jay pleads with me —anything but the T-word.
Do I really have to spell it out for you?
In 1925, during another era of pronounced income inequality and less than five years before the Great Depression, President Calvin Coolidge addressed this existential question: What is America about? When taken out of context of its accompanying remarks, the bastardized version of his famous quote—“The business of America is business”— does not do our 30th president, or us, justice.
The various “words of the year” as proclaimed by august wordsmiths, such as the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, are woefully inadequate for the 2017 we just suffered through. Youthquake? Please! There’s a fake word, signifying nothing, if I ever saw one. No, the only word of the year for me is Trumpus. It is the first cousin of rumpus. Old timey wise guys used to greet one another with the phrase, “What’s the rumpus?” They wanted to know what the latest uproar was in the underworld, who shot whom, that sort of gangsta gossip.
The wrong-way Republicans are on the dark side of history again, proposing tax cuts for their wealthy donors and oil companies while gutting programs that have helped to fuel the rise of America’s alternative energy industry. Solar and wind power, two of the fastest growing (and cleanest) sources of power in this country, provided nearly 7 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2016 (the same as hydropower). More Americans work in solar power today than in the coal industry. But various Republican proposals in House and Senate tax bills have targeted the incentives that have helped alternative energy surge, while providing tax and other benefits to fossil fuel and nuclear power purveyors — including opening up the National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling.
I was surprised when our president pardoned those two turkeys, Wishbone and Drumstick, right before Thanksgiving. For starters, where were Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn? And why didn’t he wring their necks (the turkeys)? That would have been the exact opposite of what former president Barack Obama did a year ago — and everybody knows that “Must Undo Obama” is the zombie-like mantra of the present administration. Predicting the next Trump-roar is difficult, much less his shenanigans for an entire new year, but predict we must:
The Republican Party is trying madly to lower taxes for its base. For coal miners and factory workers and for you and me, you’re guessing.
“Don’t be silly,” as my grandmother used to say. No, they are scrambling to slash taxes on the already too richly redundantly rich for words.
Sure, you and I might get a pittance — that is, if they don’t snatch away federal tax deductions for our mortgage interest, sky-high medical bills, student loan interest, state and local taxes, our personal exemption; or if they don’t lower our 401K contribution limits and eviscerate the Affordable Care Act.
The state agency in charge of environmental protection here in Connecticut is proposing changes that will restrict its citizens’ ability to contribute to a cleaner energy future. This may sound crazy, but it makes perfect sense to our local utility companies, which are lobbying hard in Hartford for such restrictions, as are power companies in other state capitals.