Archive for Travel

Mix Up Some New Kool Aid!

I grew up knowing America was the greatest country on the planet, that it offered its citizens the most opportunities for advancement, that its judicial system was the fairest, that it had the best education system in the world, that its elected officials (usually) respected the rule of law, and that politics was about more than money. I was proud to be an American. I still am, but these things are no longer true. We need to make a fresh batch of Kool Aid. Times have changed.

How do you fit in this picture?

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Joe Diedrich (1927-2017)

Yesterday would have been his 90th birthday. He had been in poor health for almost a year and in September when I spoke to him for the last time he acknowledged that the end was in sight. Two weeks ago I sent him an email. His wife responded with the news that he died the day after he received it.

Men aren’t particularly good at grieving though we commonly talk about it when a friend leaves us. Still, Joe wasn’t like anyone else and grieving doesn’t really describe my feelings. Regret is probably better. Regret that I won’t see him in Mallorca as planned this fall, and regret that I won’t hear more of his self-deprecating stories and biting commentary on the world.

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The End of the Beginning

Tomorrow (Thursday June 9, 2017) is The End of the Beginning, a big day in the unfolding of America’s future. I, for one, am taking the day off. I need to watch former FBI Director James Brien Comey Jr.’s testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Comey’s testimony is not the end of this tortuous period in our democracy, but it will be a turning point. We are far from the end of this Constitutional puzzle. Will the President be cleared of wrongdoing or will the Russian saga end in impeachment or prosecution? Was Trump colluding with the Russians to disrupt the 2016 election? Is he in deep trouble with the Russian banks? Do they have him by the short hairs? Will he self-destruct? Will the Republicans finally stop ignoring and apologizing for his erratic, ignorant, dangerous rants? However it ends it will be a turning point in the contemporary struggle for the soul of the republic. I’m all in until it’s over.

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Nashville: Skyline and All

“If you’re travelin’ in the north country fair

Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline

Remember me to one who lived there

For she was once a true love of mine.”

Both Bob Dylan and the Nashville skyline have changed since he wrote those words for the Nashville Skyline album in 1969. I loved the record (yes, it was a record in those days), and I loved his surprising shift from folk-protest to traditional country music including an off-pitch duet with Johnny Cash. Beyond that I didn’t know much about the city except that it was the home of the Grand Ole Opry. I had never been there and neither had M, but a chance meeting with a young couple at a Peter Cetera concert in Seattle got us thinking about a visit to their hometown. So, on impulse, with an Alaska Airlines companion ticket to burn, we booked the flight as just the right destination for an escape from our long wet winter in Seattle.

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Gutless Wonders…

The political mysteries of the moment are:

  • Why did only half the eligible voters think our presidential election was worth turning out for?
  • How did such an ill-informed unfit candidate become President of the United States?
  • How did the Russians manage to meddle so effectively in our electoral process?
  • Why doesn’t a Republican Congress that distrusts or at the least feels ambivalent about its President fully embrace an investigation into his possible collusion with the Russians?

American democratic traditions and institutions are under attack. The vultures are circling. Why haven’t our elected officials come together to thwart the attack and bring the nation together?

Last week, after four months of Congressional foot dragging, during which we watched the President fire all of the nation’s serving US Attorneys, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein decided to take the investigation of criminal wrongdoing away from a partisan, gutless Congress and appointed an independent Special Council. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s charge is to look into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in the 2016 election.

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