JULY 27, 2023 REPUBLICAN PRIORITIES
On his blog this week, Robert J. Elisberg went on another of his long rants. Here's a highly condensed version of Throw Some Other Shrimps at the Barbie.
What I didn't initially expect, though, is that Republicans in Congress would begin slamming the Barbie movie. A RawStory headline appeared on Sunday: Barbie slammed by conservatives as man-hating woke propaganda.' One congressman even said it endangered national security, and several senators have called it Communist. And since then, Republican outrage over a movie about a toy doll has only grown and caused a party meltdown.
When Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives and the ability to pass all the bills they want in order to show that these are the programs they stand for, programs that will help Americans, this is the small-minded garbage they are doing.
They want to expunge Trump's two impeachments, something which doesn't exist in reality. They want to impeach Joe Biden, and Merrick Garland, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and fill-in-the-blank. They're passing six-week bans on abortion when polls show the vast majority of Americans strongly support the standards that had existed under Roe v. Wade, which were around 24 weeks.
But it's even more than all that. Small-minded Republicans around the country in the supposed name of freeeeeedom! are passing laws to ban books, to ban the teaching of Black history, to ban men who wear dresses from putting on public shows (women wearing suits is apparently okay), to ban trans children from getting health care. And they're passing school standards that require teaching how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit. Which outside of Florida is hardly the sort of education most people who are not virulently racist want for their children.
And lest one think that some of these empty, divisive, racist, hurtful actions are limited to just a few specific states, no, national Republicans have almost entirely kept silent on them all. Not a word of criticism. Tacitly enabling them all. This endorsement by silence is who the Republican Party is.
They've driven themselves into a mad frenzy over All Things Woke, yet you cannot get a united definition from Republicans of what Woke actually is. (Personally, my own guess is that Woke means liberal.) The one big thing the Republican Party wants you to believe is terrible Woke! is something even they can't define!
Which ultimately brings us to Barbie. Yes, Barbie. A very popular movie about a toy doll that Republicans are having an emotional breakdown over. They're trying desperately to make an issue that the movie Barbie has endangered national security. And was Communist. And is undermining the male psyche.
Before Republicans cried out against Barbie, it was Dr. Seuss they were outraged over. And Mr. Potato Head. And Goofy. And The Muppets. And The Little Mermaid. And M&Ms. And Disney.
This is who Republicans are. They have nothing to seriously run. Barbie isn't the exception, Barbie helps define the rule.
The honorees with asterisks grew up in this area.
The 31st Street Bridge was renamed only yesterday, in honor of a Marine Lance Corporal who was killed in Vietnam in 1969. Its now officially the William Raymond Prom Memorial Bridge.
But weve been calling it the 31st Street Bridge since it was built 85 years ago. Traffic reports always remind us that Route 28 is backed up from the Heinz Plant to the 31st Street Bridge.
JULY 18, 2023 FOLLOWING THE CLUES
So what was I doing last week? Among other things, I watched a Masterpiece Mystery episode of Grantchester on PBS. This well-produced ITV period drama is set in Cambridgeshire in England.
Another accomplishment last week was replacing an electric can opener. I need one; my aging hands can no longer crank mechanical gadgets. And I discovered online that they've now invented convenient battery-powered handheld devices for this purpose. I went to a Walmart to look for one among the kitchen appliances, but despite walking through several cluttered aisles, I couldn't locate a can opener of any design.
JULY 17, 2023 GARDE TES DISTANCES
I watched some of the Tour de France yesterday and was amazed by the way crazed fans crowded the course, even sometimes running alongside the competitors. Can you imagine allowing this on the sidelines of an American football game?
JULY 15, 2023 THE MALAISE ADDRESS
Since February, former President Jimmy Carter, 98, has been spending his final months in hospice care. He's at home in Plains, Georgia, a little town my parents and I visited 47 years ago. He and his wife Rosalynn marked 77 years of marriage last week.
I lived in Washington during the Carter administration. Washington, Pennsylvania, that is. Back then I sometimes watched a live speech from the Oval Office on my little TV, where it pre-empted programs on all the networks.
On this July night in 1979, Carter tried to counter a perceived national spirit of dissatisfaction exacerbated by an energy crisis. Some of that paralysis continues today. Here are excerpts.
The gap between our citizens and our government has never been so wide. The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual.
You often see a balanced approach abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote by one unyielding group or another. Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. You don't like it, and neither do I. What can we do?
We can spend until we empty our treasuries, and we may summon all the wonders of science. But we can succeed only if we tap our greatest resources America's people, America's values, and America's confidence. We know the strength of America. We can regain our unity. We can regain our confidence.
In the days to come, let us renew that strength in the struggle for an energy-secure nation. I'm proposing a bold conservation program to involve every state, county, and city and every average American in our energy battle.
Let your voice be heard. Whenever you have a chance, say something good about our country! Let us commit ourselves together to a rebirth of the American spirit. Working together with our common faith, we cannot fail.
I used to be able to do simple subtraction in my head, but lately I've found it difficult to calculate the number of years between two dates such as 1985 and 2023. Three minus five is eight if you borrow one, then eleven minus eight is three....
Am I worried about this? Not since I heard the DJs on WDVE-FM stumble over that very problem this morning. (One trick is to note the difference between each number and 2000, then add 15 years and 23 years to get 38.)
Recently I happened to hear this great old classic again, with Chuck Berghofers double-bass introduction edging down in quarter-tone steps. I noticed that the lyrics include these lines:
Thats what I like about the English language its amenability to shortcuts. Truth is a noun. Same is an adjective. But if we want them to be verbs, we can simply use them that way! Context apparents the meaning.
JULY 8, 2023 SCHISM!
A couple of days ago, Peter Smith reported for the Associated Press that More than 6,000 United Methodist congregations a fifth of the U.S. total have now received permission to leave the denomination, amid a schism over theology and the role of LGBTQ people in the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination. Those figures emerge following the close of regular meetings in June for the denomination's regional bodies, known as annual conferences.
Smith's recent article continues, Progressives are expected to propose changing church law at the next General Conference in 2024 to allow for same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ people. Church law [currently] forbids the marriage or ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals, but amid a growing defiance of those bans in many U.S. churches and conferences, many conservatives have chosen to leave.
Denominational officials are bracing for significant budget cuts in 2024. The departures have been particularly large in the South and Midwest, with states such as Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio each losing hundreds of congregations. Many of the departing congregations are joining the Global Methodist Church, a denomination created last year by conservatives breaking from the UMC, while others are going independent or joining different denominations.
Only a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from my high school classmate Lynne Glass Ledley, a member of the Church of Christ in the Ohio town where I grew up. She wrote, I don't know if it is Methodist churches in other all states or just Ohio, but maybe you have followed in the news about the church splitting off in beliefs of following the scriptures and not being accepting of LGBTQ.
I have read the unanimous Declaration issued yesterday in Philadelphia by a Congress of Men who claim to represent all the American Colonies. In high-flown Language, this Declaration avows that the Colonies are now to be considered independent States, free of Great Britains lawful Rule!
I am appalled by the Insubordination thus openly expressed. I am likewise dismayed that a Document of such professed Import never once acknowledges the Preeminence of our great God Jehovah. Rather, we find meaningless Words such as Providence or Natures God.
What is worse, the Authors of this Declaration do not so much as mention our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These would-be founding Fathers, who wish to bring forth upon this Continent a new Nation, manifestly are not Christians! I know not what they be.
The godless Rebels intend to reject our divinely appointed King and to replace him with a democratic Republic of their own Design.
We recall that in Antiquity, pagan Greece and Rome attempted Republics and Democracy. These Concepts were tried and found wanting. The Roman Republic ended with the Appointment of Julius Caesar as Dictator in 44 B.C., and the World has seen no Republics since. Instead, to prepare the Way for Christs Kingdom on Earth, Governments have been built upon the firm Foundation of Monarchy.
For two thousand Years, Government has been defined as one King, one subject People. And now these Patriots in Philadelphia propose to change the Definition of Government!
Institutions long established must never be amended. Yet this Declaration asserts that it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish their Government whenever they consider themselves to be oppressed. I assert that it would be Madness to allow Government of the People by the People!
Moreover, to do so would be openly to rebel against Gods Law. The Holy Scriptures tell us in Romans 13, The Powers that be are ordained of God. And I Peter 2 commands, Submit yourselves to every Ordinance of Man for the Lords Sake: whether it be to the King, as supreme; or unto Governors.
If we consent to this novel Proposition, that a People may unilaterally absolve themselves from all Allegiance to their rightful Ruler, then we shall find ourselves upon a slippery Slope downwards towards Hell. Women will refuse to submit to the Rule of their Husbands. Slaves will no longer feel themselves bound to obey their Masters. Parishioners will begin to doubt what Clergymen preach. Yea, the End of Times will be near, when God shall surely judge his rebellious Children. Ye have been warned!
News media have tired of this particular travel worry, however. Instead, we now hear about gasoline prices (the typical gallon is $1.30 cheaper than it was last July 4) and airport delays.