Peace and Justice Files
The summer weather—hasn’t it been lovely, for the most part? The warm, clear days, the cool nights… the chirps of birds and peepers… sitting outside, your head on someone’s lap, looking up at the stars in an August night sky, the sound of a river in the distance, a thought might occur to you:
How is it that we are still here?
Seriously, now, think about it: as of a few days ago, it’s been 70 years, nearly three-quarters of a century, since the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Read more
After opening to overflow audiences in South America, the biggest blockbuster of 2015 is about to hit the USA—and no, it has nothing to do with superheroes battling a psychopathic robot. This event, which will be coming to only three American cities, promises to be even bigger than the Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concerts, or Neil Young’s return to Bethel Woods.
I am referring, of course, to the coming papal visit in September. Read more
(Screwtape is a very high-level—or perhaps one should say very low-level—executive devil, in charge of the demonic “sales force” in North America. Readers of C.S. Lewis’ classic “The Screwtape Letters” may recognize Screwdisk as Screwtape’s descendant. Here, Screwdisk reports to his “lower-downs.”)
From: Screwdisk, Executive VP Sales, HellCorp North America
To: Infernal Board of Directors, HellCorp HQ, 9th Circle, Hades
Re: Monthly SWOT [strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats] Report Read more
I hope everyone had a happy Easter/Passover/Spring Equinox season… to the extent that such a thing was possible, at least, given all the religiously-themed squabbling that’s been going on recently. Cries of religious bigotry and even fascism have been flying back and forth—over, among other things, whether or not bakers have the right to refuse customers based on their religious beliefs. Read more
It was a fair enough question, really.
I had just posted some well-reasoned and salient comments (or so I thought) to Facebook about some miscellaneous, transient political thing of little actual import or impact—oh yeah, those emails of Hillary’s—and one of my correspondents called me on it, to wit:
“Why don’t you put this much thought into making your LOCAL politics better and stop the distraction of the big media?” Read more
It’s not often you’ll hear me approving of news out of Arizona. The state that gave us Evan Meacham and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not usually thought of as a birthplace for interesting ideas. But they’ve recently introduced a new requirement: to graduate from high school, all students must pass a civics test similar to the one given those seeking naturalized citizenship.
At first glance, I like the concept very much. Americans’ general ignorance of the way their system works is legendary, and anything that encourages greater civic awareness is a good thing in my book. Read more
Greetings, readers out there in the future... don’t mind me, I’m still mired back here in the middle of last week, vainly trying to make some sense out of the terrorist attack on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. By the time you read these words, you will know a lot more than I do at the moment about the eventual outcome of the situation—but I would wager that we won’t have any better ideas about what we should do in its aftermath. Read more
Quick! Name a bunch of famous silent film comedy stars! Charlie Chaplin, check… Buster Keaton, of course… You remembered Harold Lloyd? Good for you!
How about Roscoe Arbuckle?
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (1887-1933) was an immensely successful entertainer. A singer, comedian, silent film actor and director, he was a superstar of the early years of the 20th century. According to Wikipedia, he helped launch the careers of both Buster Keaton and Bob Hope, and he was one of the most popular and highly paid performers of his time. Read more
I never quite understood the logic:
“Finish everything on your plate, young man; for goodness’ sake, you know there are children starving in India.”
If your parents grew up during the Depression, as mine did, it’s a good bet that you heard that line, or something like it, more than a few times during your childhood. The reasoning, I suppose, was that whether or not you particularly liked what happened to be on your plate, you should not only eat it all, but also be grateful for it, because there were other children in other parts of the world who would be thankful for anything. Read more
Thirty summers ago, a group of activists gathered in St. Paul, MN to discuss the possibility of creating a Green Party in the United States that might replicate the political successes of The Greens (Die Gruenen) in West Germany. Building on the “Four Pillars” of Die Gruenen, they came up with a statement that listed 10 “Key Values” for the nascent American Green movement: Ecological Wisdom, Grassroots Democracy, Personal and Social Responsibility, Nonviolence, Decentralization, Community-Based Economics, Post-patriarchal Values, Respect for Diversity, Global Responsibility, and Future Focus. Read more