humor, parody, politics

Amy McGrath Is On Target

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I receive a huge number of appeals for donations, consider many of them, and respond to some.  Guessing that U already get more than enough duns, I almost always refrain from forwarding those I like, let alone the others.  The dun displayed below is so clever and funny that I will make an exception (and have made a donation).

The man who never put on the uniform to defend our country decided to blast his colleague Rep. Seth Moulton for helping fundraise for 19 veterans running for Congress, including me.

Party over country is all Barr understands.

Hey Andy, after I put the kids to bed, I fixed this for you.

Andy                                   Barr's Letter

You’re welcome.

– Amy

Click on either of the dun’s images to visit the website of Amy McGrath’s campaign to unseat one of the Trumpublicans from Kentucky in the US Congress.  It ain’t easy, but neither was flying 89 combat missions.

McGrath and Moulton are among the 36 candidates in Federal elections who are veterans endorsed by VoteVets.  While the other 34 are not all Marines, they still fight for right and freedom.  Cue the band.

|From the hills of old Kentucky
|to the swamplands of DC,
|she will fight our country’s battles
|in the air, on land and sea.
|
|Set to fight for right and freedom
|(beating back new fascist threats),
|she is proud to stand among them:
|thirty-six progressive vets.

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history, music, politics

Battle Hymn of the Re…

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The song commonly known as Greensleaves has been given several other titles and sets of lyrics.  The melody is too good to be bound by any one version of the song’s words.  Likewise for the song commonly known as the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which got the familiar title and lyrics from the five stanzas published by Julia Ward Howe in 1862.  Details and diction bind her words to the Civil War era, but the melody and rhythm break free.

As a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and another by the US Army Field Band illustrate, there is considerable variety in musical phrasing and how the singers are accompanied (as well as which 2 or 3 stanzas are sung).  I tried to write 3 stanzas appropriate for 2017 that really could be sung well by people who know how to sing.  The choir or the field band could give a rousing performance of my updated battle hymn.

A few of Howe’s phrases still resonate; I have used them (and a few other fragments of American societal hymnody) in my updated title and lyrics.  Will the future find my details from 2017 as dated as Howe’s details from 1862?  I hope so.

Battle Hymn of the Resistance

Our eyes have seen the glory
|of a land where freedom rings;
where fear and hate are cast aside;
|where no one bows to kings;
where clean air fills the spacious skies;
|where hope can spread its wings.
We fight to make it real.

|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|We fight to make it real.

When shills disguised as pundits
|stole the spotlights on the stage,
the centrists lost their bearings
|and misread the workers’ rage.
Dark money seized a chance to buy
|a second Gilded Age.
We fight the lies with truth.

|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|We fight the lies with truth.

We still can hear the trumpet
|that will never call retreat.
A white-haired warrior still steps forth
|to drum a steady beat.
Our voices shout rebuttal
|to each cryptofascist tweet,
and we will win this fight.

|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|Glory, glory hallelujah!
|Yes, we will win this fight.


Sprit_of_'76

Spirit of ’76


Writing cogent modern English in triplets is not easy.  Neither is saving the Republic from the Age of Trumpery.  At best, those who fight this fight will get tired and sweaty.  My update of Howe’s lyrics is something they can sing in the shower.  I tried that.  It helps.

haiku, history, humor, politics

What Luther Did Before Nailing

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Did U ever wonder how an outraged monk could be like a frightened squid while being quite unlike the squid in a closely related way?  Neither did I.  The answer hit me before the question, while I pondered an intriguing juxtaposition in

Haiku Poems: Grip (For Samantha) | Poet Rummager

that inspired me to write a haiku.

Squids and Scribblers
|Squids squirt ink to flee.
|Writers also (sometimes), but
|often to confront.

• Image from © Brad Scot Lark | ShutterStock
• Image cropped from © Michele Paccione | ShutterStock

Long after Martin Luther’s time, fundamental institutions have yet again strayed from their missions and been corrupted.  Of course, people write (and mesh their words with images) very differently now.  Writers depend on the media (rather than a trip to the hardware store) to nail things to doors.  But if U listen carefully, U can still hear hammering.

2017-09-22

NON SEQUITUR © 2017 Wiley Ink, Inc..
Dist. By ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

politics

Semper Fi

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amy-mgrath-4-congress

Yes, the fighter jock on the left is also the married mom on the right.  This image is a screenshot from the Amy McGrath for Congress website, which is worth a visit from anybody who appreciates clear and communicative web design (whether or not they care about US politics).

After retiring from the Marine Corps (at the rank of Lt Colonel), Amy McGrath found a new challenge: running for Congress as a Democrat in Kentucky.  It’s not easy.  Neither was flying 89 combat missions.

Dunno whether McGrath is as progressive as I am, but I believe she has the confidence and smarts to avoid the Democrats’ common mistake running like decaffeinated Republicans in red states.  Some evidence is provided by the form (as well as the content) of the announcement video Told Me, which can be seen on the website and has made a splash on YouTube.  When was the last time U saw a campaign kickoff that was also a good short (2 minutes) film?  I like the calmly assertive no-nonsense tone thruout and the final image shown in the screenshot below.

amy-mcgrath-video

The party affiliation is stated clearly, w/o fuss.  The image background is a subtle rebuttal of the common misconception that Dems are intrinsically wimpy, if not downright unpatriotic.  The subtlety is important.  Those who explicitly mention a misconception (even while refuting it) risk strengthening it in the minds of those they are trying to enlighten.  Good logic may not be good rhetoric.  Dunno how many good rhetorical details of the video and the website are there because McGrath put them in herself and how many are there because McGrath chose and trusted well-qualified people.  Either way, seeing such competence is a hopeful glimmer in a dark time.

Please visit Amy McGrath for Congress and watch the video.  U can see some good stuff w/o spending much time.  Those willing and able to donate just might get the satisfaction of helping a Marine kick some Trumpublican ass.

history, politics

Rowing Against the Current

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I row against the current.  My oar bends.  Will it break?

« Current ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #97 »
Thru a haze of fatigue, my mind drifts to a far away place and long ago time.  To Salamis.  I remember the ancient Greek navy, the mostly Athenian “wooden wall” that defied long odds to save Western civilization.  Salvation is not permanent.

trireme
Greek Trireme (public domain)

I cannot draw to save a life, and it is hard to find a trireme to photograph on short notice.  I used an image I did not create because something about triremes really matters now.

The rowers in Greek triremes were citizens rowing to defend their communities, not galley slaves rowing to avoid the lash.  Tho they could not see the Persian ships they needed to ram, they could trust their leaders to see and steer.  Themistocles owed nothing to Xerxes.

Here and now, rowing as a citizen is more complicated.  The peril is a strong current (stealthy as metastasis) that surges around breakwaters.  What is there to ram?  Will the rowers be swept out to sea while squabbling over which cove to head for?  Are the leaders loyal and competent?  What does Trump owe to Putin?

I row against the current.  I am not alone.

Update [2017-07-30]

Here is a good example of rowing against the current that has gotten less publicity than it deserves.  Senator Mazie Hirono [Dem-HI] interrupted treatment for stage 4 kidney cancer to speak eloquently and vote against the latest pseudoconservative travesty of healthcare legislation.  U can read more details and hear the speech (under 5 minutes) by clicking here.  U can sign a petition to thank her by clicking here.

(reblog), politics

Join Us in the Fight for Net Neutrality

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Glad to see that WP is encouraging people to take a stand with this clever temporary plugin.

It is a little disappointing that the actual comment area provided by BattleForTheNet.com is so small that it doubles the temptation to just send the zillionth copy of the default comments.

After sending the default in response to the WP plugin on my own blog, I sent in a concise original comment in response to yet another link:

My electric utility company distributes the electricity I use, whether I buy it from them or from someone else.  The company does not skimp on maintaining the wires for people who buy from someone else.  The Internet has succeeded with a similarly neutral stance.  It ain’t broke.  Don’t “fix” it.

The WordPress.com Blog

Automattic strongly believes in a free and open Internet and it’s hard to imagine a truly open Internet without Net Neutrality.

What Is Net Neutrality?

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but very powerful principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Whether you’re reading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming Game of Thrones on HBO GO, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your Internet service provider delivers the Internet to you at the same speed, without blocking, throttling, or charging extra tolls based on the content you’re viewing. You can learn more about Net Neutrality and why it’s important by visiting battleforthenet.com.

Net Neutrality gives all online businesses, large and small, a chance to reach customers and succeed. It also protects important free speech rights online by prohibiting Internet providers from slowing or blocking sites or messages they don’t agree with.

Net Neutrality means an Internet where…

View original post 560 more words

history, photography, politics

Poem, Book, and Flag

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HughesPoem
The image atop this post comes from a new reading of the classic Langston Hughes poem Let America Be America Again, published in 1936.  On one hand, it is discouraging that the poem is still so timely.  Indeed, a speech from 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt is still timely and sounds remarkably like what Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are saying today.  We have frittered away so much of the hard-won partial progress made since 1910 and 1936.  On the other hand, …

Slavomir Rawicz planned and led a small group’s escape from a prison camp in the Siberian Gulag in 1941.  About 9 months and 3000 miles later, the 4 survivors reached safety in India, having walked (with a little crudely improvised equipment and w/o maps) thru Siberian snow, the Gobi Desert, and high passes in the Himalayas.  Details are in his book The Long Walk.

There are many sane and decent people in the USA, and some of them may have the grit and ingenuity of Slavomir Rawicz and his companions.  In my own small way, I will try to help and will keep Yogi Berra’s Law in mind.

Having flown my flag inverted (as a protest) for a few days after the electoral disaster of 2016, I put it away.  The meaning of inversion would no longer be clear.  In the spring of 2017, I bought a new flag (larger and US-made) for occasions like July 4th, when flying the flag upright would not look so much like general approval of the way things are going.  Ceding patriotic symbols to bigots and plutocrats would be a tactical error.

Maybe I should be doing other things today, but I came across the new reading of the poem.  Despite not having burst mode on my camera, I then lucked into a good snapshot of my flag waving proudly.  As usual, I teared up when a radio station played The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Tonight, I will both smile and yawn when neighborhood fireworks keep me up late.  Tomorrow, the sane and decent people can return to the work of redeeming the promise of this day.

flag_716x632

Happy July 4th!