|Tomie Lee "Pop-Pop" Meeks and the author|
Friday, December 30, 2011
|On the front lines for freedom.|
Photo credit: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP
|College kids crowd in front of the White House |
to rejoice in taking out Public Enemy No. 1
Photo credit: Toledo Blade
|Families battered by earthquake and tsunami destruction |
had to add potential nuclear poisoning to their list of fears.
Photo credit: FukushimaTragedy.com
|Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest |
of Loughner's victims
|U.S. troops head for Kuwaiti border. |
Photo credit: AP
|Photo credit: Marc Cooper|
|Photo credit: Shannon Stapleton, Reuters|
|Democrats in unity:|
Wisconsin union members and neighbors
stood and delivered
Without a doubt, it's been an eventful year, and 2012, with the upcoming presidential contest, among others, will prove equally memorable. Did this jog your memory -- or dig up memories you were trying to forget? Learned anything new here? Was something missed? Drop a line and update the record.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Fair warning: the link is only good for a week, so catch it while you can!
This moderator for this week's panel (both pundits and moderators rotate every week) was Tamala Edwards. Inside Story is the top-rated public affairs program in the Philadelphia market and airs on Sundays at 11:30A . . . until football season kicks off. Then, the program shifts to 10A. Gotta make time (and money) for all that E-A-G-L-E-S hoopla!
|Or . . . the courage to sit it out when the inevitable arises|
The straw poll winner doesn't always dictate the Iowa caucus winner -- or the RNC presidential nominee, or even White House's new occupant. But in this economy, even big donors have been a little gun-shy with the checkbook. Pawlenty's inability to connect with voters -- despite his working-class roots -- failed to sway those looking for energy. Anyone taking on a sitting president would need high momentum.
MashedPotatoMan just didn't inspire the masses.
Bachmann, on the other hand, does. Kind of like a mob leader. The U.S. representative and tea party queen placed first in the contest, shattering a glass -- or corn husk -- ceiling of sorts. That may be the scarier prospect of this year's straw poll.
Check this space shortly on the latest regarding youthful voters and the issues that will have them hopping mad -- and organized -- for 2012.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
They looked to America. And America whiffed. Rather, America’s political leaders whiffed. Big time.
It's the cost of the inability to compromise. Expect eyes to fall to Asia this weekend, with the opening of markets. By the time Wall Street rings its opening bell Monday, the chatter might just drown it out.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Raising the debt ceiling–
something that has been done dozens of times through administrations led by both parties–
was the easy work. Figuring out how to restructure spending would be the hard work. For some, that is. Others would just toss those without into the streets and figure it's a lick on them if they couldn't do better for themselves.
If the debt ceiling debacle has been the easy lift, it's going to take more than Superman and the entire Justice League AND Hercules to heft the second half of the issue. For the record, no such superheroes roam the halls of the U.S. Congress. Not even in alter-ego form. Somebody's going to have to page them. And fast.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Yet U.S. Secretary of State Clinton was doing approximately that in Asia earlier this week as the idiocy on Capitol Hill continued, careening us closer toward a completely unnecessary crash of confidence in America.
|U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy: CNN|
Before a Hong Kong audience of investors and policymaker on Monday, Clinton deftly dodged any sense of panic about the tomfoolery that is the faux crisis of the debt ceiling debate. She danced about the obvious -- that so many legislators are intent on driving the economy off the cliff, both domestic and global, insistently so, because they are too busy denying that a default would mean anything.
These kind of lawmakers will castigate "greedy" homeowners for causing the housing bust, often pointing their fingers as lower-income folks who dared to grasp the American Dream via the detested Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. When these homeowners default (and those middle-income people who snapped up jumbo loans to live large usually are excused from this), it's a sign of incompetence and irresponsibility.
Yet when the U.S. Congress OPTS to default on its standing obligations, be it paying its mortgages or checks to veterans , the logic is that it's a sign of principle. It's about stopping "spending" and ending debt.
Let's face it. Most people would love to end their debt by just not paying their notes on time, but banks don't take too kindly to that. The same is true in this case, where the ongoing threat of such stupidity is giving great pause to our bankers -- largely China. They are frowning deeply at U.S. political "recklessness" and acting -- downsizing their T-bill holdings and other investments, further weakening the dollar and our recovery.
Overseas, it's hard to fathom that this great nation, once admired for its generous nature and prudent stewardship, has allowed itself to be enslaved by a handful of tea-swilling, mission-blinded zealots.
Yes, the United States is on a negative slope when it comes to its fiscal house. But even the sober authors of the U.S. debt commission report stated that "budget cuts should start gradually so they don’t
interfere with the ongoing economic recovery." This isn't the time to insist on a bloody hacksaw job. But that kind of intolerant rigidity has been the demand of the Republican caucus, thwarting the deals to date.
It's this lack of coherence and compromise that has made ratings agencies, Wall Street and world investors uneasy. We just got out of a tumultuous economic period and have been settling into a jittery one. Now the U.S. House of Representatives, led by mistaken Republicans, are rumbling us back toward catastrophe.
Hillary Clinton is probably happy to be back stateside. Were she still traveling, as the Aug. 2 deadline to lift the debt ceiling looms and the deadlock ensues, she just may have worn out the taps on her shoes.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
In some respect, it’s a train wreck that doesn’t deserve the attention. In all honesty, it smacks of desperation by the Pawlenty people to remain relevant, because he's not wowing them in the polls – any of them. This is despite having led Minnesota, a decent-sized state, as governor, despite having declared his intentions early and despite all that gosh-darned earnestness. No one is taking this suitor. He can't even break into double digits.
Monday, July 18, 2011
While no one is above the law, the tensions between those who would lead a free society and those who choose to protect it via a free press are long standing. Should the former ever gain control over the actions of the latter, the society ultimately loses, because it would compromise our freedom and allow us to slip closer to a totalitarian state.
NewsCorp. scandal continues to unfurl on both sides of the Atlantic. As arrests of NewsCorp employees mount, including the former head of Rupert Murdoch's U.K. news division, so do disturbing musings about "muzzles" for the media.
It's enough to send shivers up the spines of every notebook-toting journalist, even if it's understandable.
The repulsive nature -- from hacking cell phones to bribing the police for leads -- of these allegations has put the idea of tightening press freedoms on turbo boosters and may prove to be the greatest crime Murdoch & Co,. have perpetuated on our society.
Along with his apologies to the families affected by this scandal, Murdoch needs to apologize to every actual journalist.
Just as Watergate eroded public faith in politicians and Bush v. Gore shattered trust in the political process, this phone hacking scandal threatens to upend the tenuous balance of journalism, both here and abroad.
After all, trust and accuracy are the currency. Without either, the profession is bankrupt.
For as polarizing as his news outfits and philosophy can be and have been, Murdoch nearly single-handedly has unified forces on both the left and right to reconsider restricting the press. Contrary to popular belief, there IS a code of ethics for actual journalists, much like in other professions. While Murdoch's employees appeared to have been rewarded for flouting these guidelines, real journalists abide by them. Their work further cultivates our democracy, maintaining its vibrancy and our collective and guaranteed pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
Silencing dissenting and distasteful speech always seems justifiable in the moment, but in the main, it's a dangerous practice of thought control exercised by despots and dictators. The First Amendment protects even vile speech -- including things uttered on FOX News-- to secure political choice and free will.
With little doubt, Murdoch, who has built himself into a near oligarch through early and decades-long investment in cross-platform media ownership, is far from a sympathetic character, in the United States or in Great Britain. Through his global conglomerate, the plucky Aussie has flexed a steel fist that often sent politicians cowering and grabbed power and prestige through fear for decades.
Domestically, that reputation solidified with each screech and screed from FOX News. Its inflated and cartoonish contributions to the nation's political discourse has led it to be Public Enemy No. 1 when speaking of the coarsening and dumbing down of the culture, aided by a stable of blockbuster but mind-numbing cultural fare such as The New York Post and American Idol.
In acquiring the stately Dow Jones Company and with it, The Wall Street Journal, in 2007, Murdoch sought to buy a level of American sophistication and respect his tawdry and tacky tabloids -- print and broadcast -- could never afford him. The distasteful and illegal actions of those of his employ who helped plump up profits with their reckless disregard have eroded those efforts and set loose termites on his empire's ebony walls.
Let his punishment manifest in a pariah-esque reality and demolished stock returns. Let the journalistic abusers pay fines for their indecency and be banished to a Janet Cooke-like netherworld. But let the press be.
As always, wallets should decide winners and losers among the Fourth Estate -- not legislators.
Else, unchecked, the zeal of Murdoch opponents could incur unintended consequences for journalists everywhere, bringing to mind the prescient words of Protestant pastor and philosopher Martin Niemöller:
Because I was not a Socialist
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
|Rick Perry, the latest Texas governor intent |
on crashing the White House lawn