Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 10:39 PM
Number of posts: 66,635
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 10:39 PM
Number of posts: 66,635
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There are daffodils blooming in my yard in February.
It's the earliest I can remember.
I'm having a mental battle between trepidation and joy.
We had an early Spring in March, a few years back,
Where warm weather arrived and stayed through to summer,
As if it had just been sojourning down the street,
Instead of the long, bitter banishment and Winter siege
Nature's insisted on in past years.
There a picture in the back of my mind of a glacier,
Described in reports to be the size of Delaware,
Breaking off of an ice shelf in Antarctica,
Threatening to raise sea levels one-sixteenth of an inch,
So, I'm brooding a bit.
Brooding, even as I raise my face to gauge the warming sun,
Even as I still myself to listen to the birds singing,
Trilling in anticipation of return to remembered days,
Where viridity flourished and multiplied,
To meet and match every sustaining desire.
There's familiar conflict in the compromised air,
Like the gleeful sound of children in the distance at recess,
Muffled, inconsiderately, by the rumble of a jet overhead,
Adding to the cacophony of dire events in the news,
Broadcast over our fragile, but hopeful, lives.
Fitting how the daffodils pushed up through the brush,
Not waiting for my manicure and mulch to emerge and bloom,
Insistent in the face of unprecedented changes in climate,
Almost as a defiance to the threat of the warming globe,
Anxious to affirm their existence.
Short-term, self-preservation wins over trepidation.
I'm lost in the gloriousness of the moment.
It's all too ephemeral to waste.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Feb 23, 2017, 01:30 PM (11 replies)
...so the subjects of the investigation have knowledge of details about the FBI investigation into their activities?
Unless I'm missing something, Reince Priebus is admitting to a subversion of justice, a serious abuse of power and authority by the White House and the FBI.
Sopan Deb @SopanDeb 3m3 minutes ago
Lot of interactions between Trump White House and FBI for an ongoing investigation that could involve Trump White House:
...of course he could be lying.
Posted by bigtree | Sun Feb 19, 2017, 01:31 PM (10 replies)
...and many more have begun shifting to the more sensible role of working for relevancy with their viewership.
Mainstream media has been serving as mouthpieces and apologists for government for so long they forgot their privileged roles were meant to do more than perpetuate their industry.
Now, with Trump making publicly clear his antipathy and revulsion for them at even the tiniest hint of interest in what he's doing as president, effectively kicking them out of the WH good-old-boy's club, they're scrambling for relevancy among the actual consumers of their product. You can just imagine the sleepless nights right now worrying over ways to effectively nail this inveterate liar in the presidency.
As refreshing as it is to see them scramble to defend themselves when Trump pushes back against them, it shouldn't be forgotten that it's been their viewing public who has been left over the years with little voice in the media against their steady promotion of obvious lies and diversions from government officials.
Likewise, it was fine and good when they had access and the perks that went with those, mostly unquestioned, promotions of republican policy and politics. It's a much different tune from them now that they've been scorned and spurned by Trump and his sycophants in the republican party.
Even as we're witnessing a revival of actual reporting from previously unlikely sources, there's still an air of pleading in their questions for Trump to return to a time when republican crazy was kept undercover of reasonable-sounding framing, and their one-sided presentations were welcomed as compliments to republican obstruction and obstinacy.
Here's hoping the Trump White House continues to keep these media sources out in the cold, and they find their refuge, instead, in unfettered truth accurately reported to the American people.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Feb 16, 2017, 11:37 PM (2 replies)
...if Trump disobeys a court order, like the one just issued suspending his Muslim ban, it would be up to Congress to bring him and his office to accountability, and if it applies, to justice. The courts can bring contempt actions against the WH, but it would be up to Congress to enforce them.
Right now, that democratic check on the Executive is in the hands of an indifferent, to complicit, republican party in control of the Legislature. They are a more pernicious threat to our democracy - acquiescence implied and effectively granted by their refusals to act.
Posted by bigtree | Sat Feb 4, 2017, 11:51 AM (2 replies)
from Harry Reid's (Former) Deputy Chief of Staff at WaPo:
Senate Democrats have the power to stop Trump. All they have to do is use it.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Feb 2, 2017, 01:58 PM (7 replies)
...but a threat to our democracy, itself.
Among the most troubling of Donald Trump's actions have to be the almost daily tweets and declarations from the Chief Executive denigrating the press for daring to criticize him, the majority of his statements opposing them proven demonstrably and unequivocally false.
There's also the, now rescinded, gag orders on several government agencies which would have effectively blocked the free flow of information about the actions and product of our government offices.
In addition, there has been a flurry of executive orders from Trump which has exceeded those issued during President Obama's first week., on track to far outpace the former president's reliance on EOs to overcome republican obstruction. There's no such barrier to legislative progress for Trump, so it's a curious and contradictory exercise considering his and other republicans' many criticisms of President's Obama's.
His behavior reeks of every pattern of the history of autocratic heads of state who fomented severe disruption and destruction of democratic institutions in their countries and ushered in dictatorships or other imperialistic rule.
That's not to suggest that our own democracy is so degraded to easily allow some sort of swift takeover. Yet, there's also a functionally compliant republican legislature in place, well prepared to manipulate our democratic process of law and elections to accommodate and perpetuate such an autocratic rule.
So, plainly speaking, we should be openly asking if Trump is dismantling our democracy in favor of autocratic rule, especially since many of his major actions are directed at taking away so many vestiges of our compacts between government and American citizens, like health care and other social and economic benefits; all the while enriching himself, personally, with unaccountable business interests conflicting with our nation's interests here and around the globe.
I believe, very reluctantly, but resolutely, that Donald Trump is proving himself to be a threat to our democracy. What's less sure to me is where we institutionally trigger that distinction or determination. What I fear is that the closer we allow ourselves to come to that point, the greater the risk that he succeeds.
Posted by bigtree | Sat Jan 28, 2017, 10:58 AM (19 replies)
Leftfielder™ @DaleMoss2 1h1 hour ago
“We feel the difference now. See, now, we're feeling what not having hope feels like" - Michelle Obama
Posted by bigtree | Fri Jan 20, 2017, 01:24 PM (8 replies)
...that's where I believe we've come in this Obama presidency.
As we reflect-on, revel-in the final day of this presidency, many of us are coming to terms with the fact that most of the fights we waged along with President Obama will need to be fought and defended all over again in the Trump presidency. As resolute as ever on this important day, I take great pride in the successive elections of Barack Obama, and depart from this historic moment in time with much the same message I imparted when we began this enterprise.
In very much the same spirit as my 'flashback' posts this week, I want to express, one last time, perhaps, my appreciation for all the folks who worked so hard to make this possible in my lifetime, by sharing what I wrote in 2009.
Good luck, best regards, and best wishes to all of us.
A Leader in the White House
In electing Barack Obama, America advanced an authentic leader to the White House.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Jan 19, 2017, 09:37 AM (15 replies)
Raw Story @RawStory 26m26 minutes ago
US press corps fights back with open letter to Trump: You won’t set the rules for us http://ow.ly/DEEt3086dgc
Kyle Pope, the editor in chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review penned an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the U.S. Press Corps setting some clear ground rules moving forward:
Dear Mr. President Elect:
Posted by bigtree | Tue Jan 17, 2017, 09:22 PM (2 replies)
...third in a series, up to the inauguration, of some favorite President Obama posts of mine.
President Obama has a favorite photograph. It's a photo of Abraham Lincoln taken toward the end of his life. Here's what he wrote in Time magazine in 2005. about that face and why it inspires him . . .
What I See in Lincoln's Eyes
by, Barack Obama
Monday, July 04, 2005
My favorite portrait of Lincoln comes from the end of his life. In it, Lincoln's face is as finely lined as a pressed flower. He appears frail, almost broken; his eyes, averted from the camera's lens, seem to contain a heartbreaking melancholy, as if he sees before him what the nation had so recently endured.
It would be a sorrowful picture except for the fact that Lincoln's mouth is turned ever so slightly into a smile. The smile doesn't negate the sorrow. But it alters tragedy into grace. It's as if this rough-faced, aging man has cast his gaze toward eternity and yet still cherishes his memories--of an imperfect world and its fleeting, sometimes terrible beauty. On trying days, the portrait, a reproduction of which hangs in my office, soothes me; it always asks me questions.
What is it about this man that can move us so profoundly? Some of it has to do with Lincoln's humble beginnings, which often speak to our own. When I moved to Illinois 20 years ago to work as a community organizer, I had no money in my pockets and didn't know a single soul. During my first six years in the state legislature, Democrats were in the minority, and I couldn't get a bill heard, much less passed. In my first race for Congress, I had my head handed to me. So when I, a black man with a funny name, born in Hawaii of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, announced my candidacy for the U.S. Senate, it was hard to imagine a less likely scenario than that I would win--except, perhaps, for the one that allowed a child born in the backwoods of Kentucky with less than a year of formal education to end up as Illinois' greatest citizen and our nation's greatest President.
In Lincoln's rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat--in all this, he reminded me not just of my own struggles. He also reminded me of a larger, fundamental element of American life--the enduring belief that we can constantly remake ourselves to fit our larger dreams.
A connected idea attracts us to Lincoln: as we remake ourselves, we remake our surroundings. He didn't just talk or write or theorize. He split rail, fired rifles, tried cases and pushed for new bridges and roads and waterways. In his sheer energy, Lincoln captures a hunger in us to build and to innovate. It's a quality that can get us in trouble; we may be blind at times to the costs of progress. And yet, when I travel to other parts of the world, I remember that it is precisely such energy that sets us apart, a sense that there are no limits to the heights our nation might reach.
Still, as I look at his picture, it is the man and not the icon that speaks to me. I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator. As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice. Scholars tell us too that Lincoln wasn't immune from political considerations and that his temperament could be indecisive and morose.
But it is precisely those imperfections--and the painful self-awareness of those failings etched in every crease of his face and reflected in those haunted eyes--that make him so compelling. For when the time came to confront the greatest moral challenge this nation has ever faced, this all too human man did not pass the challenge on to future generations. He neither demonized the fathers and sons who did battle on the other side nor sought to diminish the terrible costs of his war. In the midst of slavery's dark storm and the complexities of governing a house divided, he somehow kept his moral compass pointed firm and true.
What I marvel at, what gives me such hope, is that this man could overcome depression, self-doubt and the constraints of biography and not only act decisively but retain his humanity. Like a figure from the Old Testament, he wandered the earth, making mistakes, loving his family but causing them pain, despairing over the course of events, trying to divine God's will. He did not know how things would turn out, but he did his best.
A few weeks ago, I spoke at the commencement at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. I stood in view of the spot where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held one of their famous debates during their race for the U.S. Senate. The only way for Lincoln to get onto the podium was to squeeze his lanky frame through a window, whereupon he reportedly remarked, "At last I have finally gone through college." Waiting for the soon-to-be graduates to assemble, I thought that even as Lincoln lost that Senate race, his arguments that day would result, centuries later, in my occupying the same seat that he coveted. He may not have dreamed of that exact outcome. But I like to believe he would have appreciated the irony. Humor, ambiguity, complexity, compassion--all were part of his character. And as Lincoln called once upon the better angels of our nature, I believe that he is calling still, across the ages, to summon some measure of that character, the American character, in each of us today.
the essay: www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/28/obama.lincoln.tm/
How newspapers covered Abraham Lincoln’s assassination 150 years ago: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/04/14/how-newspapers-covered-abraham-lincolns-assassination-150-years-ago/?postshare=3721429009768815
Flashback Post #1
Flashback Post #2
Flashback Post #4
Posted by bigtree | Mon Jan 16, 2017, 09:47 AM (10 replies)