Archive: August, 2011

Seven good days

What a fortuitous week! Libyan rebels stretch the Arab spring deep into summer. An earthquake rumbles, but fails to roll.  In Washington, Hurricane Irene has the good manners to visit only briefly.  The awful weather cancels a monumental dedication, but black Americans finally have a seat at the table of history on the National Mall.  However, for me all the big strokes were topped by a small show of human kindness that I witnessed, a grace note that resonated with hope for the weeks to come. (More)

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Who’s the sole survivor, John Lewis or Joe Lowery?

On Sunday, The New York Times tagged Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the last living member of the contingent surrounding King on stage as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial forty eight years ago.  In a lead Outlook article in the Washington Post, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) wrote that he’s now the last man standing.  I do recall that Lewis, chair of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), caused far more commotion than King that day with his “black power” speech, but I haven’t been able to reconcile whether he or Lowery is the sole podium survivor.  Anybody got a clue?

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Obama: Nibbling the Nibbler

There they were again, this time in a Washington Post article by Dana Milbank.  Two little words — “patent reform” — that speak tomes about President Obama’s approach to job creation. The President surfaced the proposal in a speech two weeks ago and since then it has been imbedded in every White House press release on jobs. In the Milbank article, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka derides it as the kind of thing “he thinks others will immediately accept” and goes on to include it as one of “those little nibbly things around the edge that aren’t going to make a difference and aren’t going to solve the problem.”  Milbank agrees, calling Obama “The Great Nibbler.” 

 Mr. President, Milbank and Trumka are being far too kind, chipping around the perimeter of the problem themselves. Truth is, the words “patent reform” trivialize the suffering of the jobless and make you sound like, well, a nitwit.

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August 24, 2011

Cicadas in Our Midst: Palin-Perry-Bachmann-Paul/PLUS Kudos to Ron Bloom

With the Dow-Jones marginally positive for the second day in a row, I’m coming out of my bunker. The bad news of today isn’t financial, it’s that Ron Bloom is leaving the White House this afternoon after 2 ½ years of sacrificing his family in favor of his country.  The good news is that the Cicadas have returned to Washington to remind us how the likes of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Sarah Palin make a huge contribution to the health of our political ecosystem. (More)

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August 9, 2011

My First NYC Triathlon

SUNDAY MORNING. It was my first NYC Triathlon — a 1.5K swim in the Hudson River, 40K bike race up to the Moshulu Parkway and back, then a 10K run, most of it Central Park, where the streets were knotted early with clapping, chanting onlookers.  The first runners were powering into the park at 72nd Street and Central Park West. I was sweating buckets and my legs were beginning to cramp. (More)

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My short story, The Good Son, has just been published in the Summer Issue of FictionNow, a prestigious new site for readers and writers of good fiction — and it’s all free. I’m quite flattered to be featured there and I hope you’ll click on , read my piece and check out some of the other stories.   And let me know what you think — I crave your feedback.

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August 4, 2011

Obama: Out of patent purgatory

Obviously weary of detractors alleging he’s bereft of big ideas, President Obama responded to passage of debt control legislation by pledging to fight for Patent Reform so “we can cut the red tape that stops too many inventors and entrepreneurs from quickly turning new ideas into thriving businesses.”  I called the White House and asked for a list of innovations now languishing in patent purgatory and discovered several with profound policy and political implications: (More)

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August 3, 2011

Kudos to Congress

Congress is taking a beating from the press over the debt ceiling debate, and I think it is undeserved.  We’re struggling through what may become our first radfical political realignment since FDR was elected 70 years ago, and most of our elected representatives have being doing what they were elected to do, namely representing the wishes of the constituencie they serve.  Bad manners?  Reprehensible language?  Refusal to compromise?  The last time we had such a national disagreement was in September 1862 when opponents in that debate met on a field near Sharpsburg and 25,000 of the debators were slain in a single day.   Thank goodness we have an arena where sharply differing values and visions can clash without those kinds of consequences.  What about the polls showing voters are fed up, disgusted and demoralized with the process?  Maybe we should embrace a return to a monarchy, where a tiny handful of the wise, the good and the rich make all our decisions for us.

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August 2, 2011

Boy, am I happy

We raised the debt ceiling and instead of dropping 500 points, the DJIA closed only 265 down.

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August 1, 2011

Snagging Barack Obama

July was the hottest month on record for Washington, DC, jointly caused, in my opinion, by global warming meeting up with rancid hot air bubbling up from the bowels of the United States Capitol  and the White House.  As a result, retro forces won out over progressive voices in the debt ceiling debate with a solution that cuts vital programs without raising taxes on the rich.  Now it’s up to us to turn up the heat on the new Congressional “Super Committee” being created to add additional cuts and/or revenue increases by the end of November.  We have to convince President Obama to join us.  If he doesn’t, we should take him on in the primaries next year. (More)

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