A Crazy, Cultural Slide for Congress


When we were kids, we’d climb to the top of the sliding board only to be thrilled at the pace of hurling down, and then we would run to began again. Has this become the point of our national elections?

I wonder: how did Congress get so disconnected from governing and their constituents until every issue, big or small, requires shattering the looking glass of narcissism, in which preening in the halls and chamber for lobbyists and ego seems to be the vine videos all members are repeating in their heads. How did it happen?

Jacob Lawrence. Floral Supermarket. 1996. Serigraph.

Jacob Lawrence. Floral Supermarket. 1996. Serigraph.

The risks are high: yet cynicism replaces concern. We cannot agree on national values because blame has replaced the American Promise and power is being used to uninstall the checks and balances that guided progress. The new needy are the greedy: driven by a desire for easy money, their masters spend big money to remove the safeguards and regulations that protect lives and air and water, that offer compassion and a pathway to success.

Incentives once led to inspiration. But in a world view governed and driven by the balance sheet, with money more important than life, too often the new incentives lead to death, statistical and real–which is seen as diminishing costs, and therefore success. Loss, whether shuttering government, denying education, poisoning water, or putting children last, is the New Good.

How did it happen?

Gays Targeted in a California Initiative – NYTimes.com


Even in a state known for its far-reaching and sometimes outlandish voter initiatives, the one proposed by a Huntington Beach lawyer seems stunning: the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” mandating, among other things, that any person who has sexual relations with someone of the same gender be “put to death by bullets to the head.”

via Gays Targeted in a California Initiative – NYTimes.com.

Marc Rubio Is Full Of Holes


As kids, we punched holes in pictures; as the little dots floated down, we looked through shredded images to a fractured reality. After time, more of the reality beyond was visible than the picture on the page. I shiver as I get the sense that Republicans and many columns are sayinf ignore the holes–the stark realities they reveal–in the portraits of the men and women who model our political trends, esp. when fashion is presented as analysis!

Rubio isn’t studying policy, he’s learning ideology and spin; how to counter, jab and spin; cover and blame, and pronounce the names! My litmus tests for foreign policy are not war and peace, but Haiti and Botswana: quick, Senator, tell me why the recovery of Haiti is so agonizingly slow when a population eager for work with the world’s lowest wages exists so close to our shores; how does Botswana promote conflict-free elections, a growing middle class without security and health threats as it expands opportunities for women and fights violence against them? Simply asked, does Rubio have a wide view of foreign success and failures–or is his study confined to the holes in our policy that are hot spots, inflamed by words which are the cry for war that generates more American deaths than those killed by terrorists and million of refugees?

He is wrong on Cuba, silent on infrastructure, health care, income inequality, and willing to discriminate against gay marriage. Looking through the holes, is he really the best the GOP has got?

Atlanta Police Shooting Victim Tried to Live a Life That Mattered – NYTimes.com


Long before two bullets from a police officer’s handgun tore through Anthony Hill’s chest, he had tattooed it with the words of advice that his grandfather regularly imparted to him in this small Southern city: “Be sensible.”

Last week, Mr. Hill’s relatives buried him in Moncks Corner. On their shirts and lapels, they had pinned photos of him, smiling and sharp, in his Air Force uniform. It was a wordless rebuke to the TV news images that had shown Mr. Hill as he wandered in his last living moments — naked, unarmed and acting in a way that alarmed neighbors — through his suburban Atlanta apartment complex.

It was March 9, a Monday afternoon. A DeKalb County Police officer, Robert Olsen, arrived on the scene, responding to a 911 call. Witnesses said Mr. Hill, an African-American, approached the officer, who is white, with his hands either up or at his sides, but he did not heed the policeman’s order to stop.

via Atlanta Police Shooting Victim Tried to Live a Life That Mattered –

Mr. Hill, center, with his parents, Carolyn Giummo and Anthony Hill.

Mr. Hill, center, with his parents, Carolyn Giummo and Anthony Hill.

NYTimes.com.

Breast Milk Becomes a Commodity, With Mothers Caught Up in Debate – NYTimes.com


Frozen milk from Ms. Amaya — and from hundreds of other women throughout the country — is flown here to what resembles a pharmaceutical factory. Inside, it is concentrated into a high-protein product fed to extremely premature babies in neonatal intensive care units, at a cost of thousands of dollars a baby.

Breast milk, that most ancient and fundamental of nourishments, is becoming an industrial commodity, and one of the newest frontiers of the biotechnology industry — even as concerns abound over this fast-growing business. The company that owns the factory, Prolacta Bioscience, has received $46 million in investments from life science venture capitalists.

via Breast Milk Becomes a Commodity, With Mothers Caught Up in Debate – NYTimes.com.