Saturday December 27, 2014
Last week I spoke at a seminary and graduate school in New York about the protests following the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.
It was invigorating and inspiring to be among so many young people with so much passion about social justice, young people beginning to feel their power as change agents and brimming to exercise it by disrupting the status quo.
On Wall Street, 2010 was the year of "Obama rage," in which financial tycoons went ballistic over the president's suggestion that some bankers helped cause the financial crisis. They were also, of course, angry about the Dodd-Frank financial reform, which placed some limits on their wheeling and dealing.
Childhood is dead.
Please don't be alarmed – there are still plenty of children around, and some of them will actually thrive. But childhood as we know it – knew it, anyway, for us white middle class Baby Boomers – is dead.
The reaction to the Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency's torture program has been almost as depressing as the report itself - which is saying something. There's been impotent outrage from people you'd expect to be outraged; lame excuses from people you'd expect to make excuses; and muddled ambivalence from the vast uncommitted.
'Tis the season. Long before “holiday giving” became a catch phrase, a group sought to slow down America’s No. 1 infectious killer, one penny at a time. So began Christmas Seals – the campaign which in 1907 set out to conquer the “white plague.”
A few readers will guess what that plague was, or is. Most won’t.
Two wise veterans of America's national security wars were of mixed mind after the release last week of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture. The panel blistered the Central Intelligence Agency for subjecting terrorism suspects to brutal and seemingly ineffective interrogation techniques and misrepresenting what it was doing.
The most unpopular man in Birmingham, Alabama, these days is Dr. Ray Watts, the president of the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Earlier this month, Watts announced that the school was going to eliminate its football team. You can just imagine what happened next.
I'm paying up at this discount store, and the nice woman at the cash register asks me something like, "Do you want to support a program to help homeless teenagers get drug counseling?"
"Suppose I don't" is the thought never uttered. Instead, I say, "No, thank you" or, less forthrightly, "Not today."
My maternal grandmother lives in my memory as two distinct images. Two distinct people, really.