WW II Victory and Brown v. Board: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

By James A. Kidney

Twenty-first century America is paying a price for leading Allies to victory in World War II and for the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision segregating the schools, proving the old adage that even the best deeds do not go unpunished.

Maybe raising questions about two of America’s most renowned events in the last century is not the best way to introduce a new web site – a blog, if you prefer to call it that – but the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers 70 years ago and the strong stand for racial justice decided 61 years ago reverberate in today’s headlines — not always in positive ways.

As we Watch the Circus of public events go by, adding our own sometimes sardonic, occasionally humorous, and often serious commentary on the parade, we are alarmed at how some of the great events in our history are misinterpreted, abused or ignored in what is so far a very unpromising beginning to the 21st Century.  And it is not just the right that causes this alarm.  Liberals also have their blind spots.

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Why Modern Politicians Are Like Tomatoes

By James A. Kidney

          Pundits and political consultants are bemoaning the (temporary) rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump as a sign that “the center cannot hold.” Post columnist E.J. Dionne even quotes Yeats tomato-with-teethtwice as his political guru for the proposition. But his column and others make me think that today’s politicians are like grocery store tomatoes.

Those of my generation (kinda’ old), can vaguely recall when grocery store tomatoes were tasty, like those grown on the vine in the backyard of our 1950s suburbs. It was not unusual to just eat one like an apple, perhaps with a salt shaker handy. But over the years, as corporate growers and middle-men replaced the farm-to-table small business neighborhood markets, tomatoes were developed for corporate purposes – longer lasting, less easily bruised, brighter reds – and less for consumer approval. Keeping the taste was not a business worry. I think that something of the same has happened to retail politics, with the consequence that our candidates are focused on the things that satisfy their corporate consultants. What is TV-tested? What is poll-tested? How can a candidate seem “genuine” without actually having to BE genuine. Pundits are part of this process. Most rely on campaign consultants for information, ideas, horse-race tallies, and predictions of candidate success.

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The War on Wood

From The Congressional Record, March 8, 1820, p. 42, Proceedings of the United States Senate

            Presiding Officer: The chair will recognize the distinguished senator from Kentucky, Micah McConnell.

Sen. McConnell: Thank you, Senator. I wish to spend a few moments on the issue which is most momentous to my constituents and which requires the intervention of this body and our brothers in the House. I mean, of course, the War on Wood. 

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