Author Archive for jdbernard743

C’mon, Stop Pimping Your Elders…

I have an abiding dislike for people who make fun of others. I never liked Don Rickles whose act was an avalanche of insults, or Donald Trump who chooses to demean or slander those he disagrees with rather than engage them in debate. Remember Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, Sleepy Joe, Crazy Megyn, Pocahontas, or the disabled New York Times journalist he mocked.

Lately it’s Stephen Colbert, one of my favorite comedians, who is getting under my skin. He does an impersonation of Joe Biden that’s not about his politics. He’s mocking Joe’s affect as an out of touch old person. read more

Democrats’ Double Bind…

In a perfect world winners win, losers lose. It’s clean, simple and beyond dispute. There is no confusion. But that’s not the world we live in. In a rational orderly world, disputes arise and are settled in a rational orderly way. Since the turn of the 21st century that’s been the exception rather than the rule. On the streets of America, disputes are being settled with guns. Extreme right-wing factions hold seats in Congress. Philosophical differences are met with rigid hostility. Positions have hardened, and compromise is regarded as weakness. Good faith and the common good are antiquated ideas. Gridlock is the norm. Frustration and anger are common currency in the halls of Congress. read more

Reunion Follies…

I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant, but I’m not a fan of reunions. I’ve always thought they were too focused on the past – and often more sad than joyful. Lately that feeling’s been reinforced as a consequence of Stephen Sondheim’s death. Sondheim’s musical theater work is not traditional in the Rodgers and Hammerstein sense. No tunes to whistle. No catchy one liners. No surrey with the fringe on top. I had a philosophy professor who told me Kierkegaard was hard work but worth the effort. I feel the same about Sondheim. read more

Celebrating Journalists…

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the mob assault on the US Capitol. That its nature and provenance remain subjects of debate is a symptom of the deep division in the American electorate. That President Trump empowered the mob by refusing to accept the results of the election and perpetrating the lie that the election was stolen speaks to his character and the loyalty and gullibility of his followers.
 
The antidote to this Big Lie is education, accountability, and rigorous investigative reporting. Thanks to a fearless, on the spot, dedicated group of journalists and photographers we were able to see the events unfold. Americans saw live coverage of that violent assault. We watched as the mob knocked down barriers, rushed up the steps, broke windows and doors, stormed into the House and Senate chambers, ransacked offices, erected a gallows, threatened to kill Vice-President Pence, and injured more than 140 law enforcement personnel. Nevertheless, there are those who, to this day, are trying to convince us that what we saw was not what we saw.
 
Despite a lack of cooperation from Republicans, a bipartisan Congressional investigation is underway into its origins. Trump partisans continue their widespread effort to keep those responsible from being held accountable. If not for the words and pictures of the Fourth Estate, we might never have known the magnitude, carnage, and sequence of that violent attack.
 
But this story is more about journalism than the events described above, although those events exemplify the importance of journalism and the courage and integrity of its practitioners. Every day, reporters and photographers roam the world and report back to us on everything from climate change and genocide to financial corruption and drug cartels. The world is a dangerous place, and journalists put themselves at risk to tell us about it. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 45 journalists were killed while doing their jobs in 2021 – 50% more than in the previous year. read more

Six Years and Counting…

The end of the year, the winter solstice and family birthdays always remind me that we’re at the end of something and the beginning of something else – a convergence of old and new. Normally, it’s a time to review the passing year and prepare for the next. But the last six years have been unlike any that went before. How should we think of them? Our world has changed. The emotional, political, geographic, even the biological tectonic plates we relied on have shifted.

Climate change has brought floods where floods were rare (Western Europe and Arizona), multi-year droughts have depleted our reservoirs (Shasta, Powell, Lake Mead), raging wildfires have destroyed unimaginable amounts of forests and taken out whole residential communities (California and Australia), catastrophic tornados have attached themselves to the ground for never before lengths and devastated everything they touched (Kentucky), shootings have come to neighborhoods never before touched by violence (mine), our nation’s capital was attacked by domestic terrorists (January 6, 2021) because the outgoing US president was determined to retain power by overturning a legitimate election (Trump). Police continued to shoot black citizens while a 17-year-old white vigilante armed with an illegally purchased AR-15 gunned down three protesters before being acquitted of all charges and celebrated by right-wing groups as a “patriot” and “hero” (Kyle Rittenhouse). Worst of all, a lethal virus was loosed on the world, killing 800,000 Americans, while its eradication was effectively prevented due to its politicization by right-wing media and anti-vaccers. read more