From my August 22, 2018 letter to Senator Grassley.
It’s been almost two years since I wrote you about Trump’s statement on the “Access Hollywood” tape. As he was about to meet my niece Arianne Zucker he told Billy Bush, “When you’re a star they’ll let you do it. You can do anything.” I asked you, “Is it true; will you let him do anything?” It’s time for you to give us an answer. Continue reading
What are we talking here, “treason” and “jaywalking?” Or did our founding fathers have something different in mind? Well, Benjamin Franklin asserted that the power of impeachment and removal was necessary for those times when the Executive “rendered himself obnoxious.” Does that remind us of anyone we know? For most of us, we see these words and think that some kind of crime must be alleged before an impeachment trial can begin. Sure, we call it a trial, but Congress is not a court of law. It is a trial in the sense that there are facts and circumstances to be weighed, whether we are weighing criminality or obnoxiousness. Continue reading
As published in the Grinnell Herald-Register on February 19, 2018
As we mourn the deaths of another 17 young people with their whole lives ahead of them, I have to ask what’s actually changed since February 11, 2013 when the Grinnell Herald-Register published my first article on the subject. Well in the five years since Sandy Hook some of the states hardest hit like Connecticut and California have enacted progressive gun legislation but on the whole legislation in the US has only increased the risk to American citizens. Iowa is a good example of a state where reckless legislation is likely to make matters worse while we remain convinced that what happened in Parkland (recently named the safest city in Florida) can’t happen here. The NRA has since become (whether wittingly or unwittingly) entangled in a Russian plot to create divisiveness in our country. Continue reading
USA School District
Many of you have heard the rumors from your children that their bus driver, Donny J. Trumpet has been drinking on the job and that he ran over playground equipment while shortcutting through the school yard. I want you to know we are as concerned with these rumors as you and we will investigate them thoroughly. We did confront Mr. Trumpet about this and he assured us that despite the Smirnoff’s label on the bottle it contained only lemonade or was it iced tea, possibly an energy drink, so I guess it could have been anything. In any event he swallowed the evidence so this was inconclusive. As for the damaged playground equipment, that might have been caused by any bus and no one was hurt so “no harm/no foul.” Continue reading
When George was a boy his father came to him and asked, “George, did you chop down my cherry tree?” George replied, “Father, I cannot tell a lie, but I must respectfully decline to answer in this open hearing.” His father scratched his head and walked away.
This is the real story of how George Washington saved country and the reputation of a future president.
So if you found yourself scratching your head after listening to today’s Congressional testimony from Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, and Dan Coats, just remember what you have witnessed is part of a grand tradition.
Wow! I didn’t expect anyone to actually come right out and say it. It’s something that’s bothered me for a long time. But during the July 13th broadcast of “CNN Newsroom,” Ebony Magazine Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux stated that she disagreed with (President Obama’s) characterizing the shooting of Dallas police officers as a hate crime and using that term for “a group of people that have a history with African-Americans that have been abusive, and we can apply that to either police officers or to Caucasians, I think, gets into very tricky territory.”
Of course that isn’t what the law says. But the tricky territory she’s talking about is how we all perceive the law. For most of us we may say Civil Rights but we hear Black Rights. Despite the awkward euphemisms her message is clear, “Whites can’t be the victims of a hate crime because they are the bad guys.” She sees the law as a kind of declaration dividing Americans into two classifications, “the haters” and “the hated.” What bothers me is I see the law that way too. Now if an old white guy like me and a young black activist woman share the same perception of the law, perhaps everyone in between does too.
That would go a long way in explaining why we can’t heal old wounds.
I’ve been attending an interesting “Bucket Course” with this title at Grinnell’s Drake Library given by Dr. J.R. Paulson. This quote by Rodney King, actually, “Can we all get along?” poses some challenging questions about human behavior. One of Dr. Paulson’s main themes is,
“Belief comes first, explanations for beliefs follow.”
The only problem I have with this is it demonstrates what Dr. Paulson calls the “framing bias.” The word “Belief” implies we are talking about something the individual believes to be true. I doubt that I am only speaking for myself when I say my beliefs are hardly ever grounded in truth and almost always represent a concession I have made “just to get along” in society. This makes Mr. King’s statement more an enigma than a question. Continue reading