For a nation steeped in adherence to the prohibition of enforced religious belief and impenetrable separation of church and state, as Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black: affirmed in 1947: “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable……” (Everson v Bd of Ed’n). Political paladins of various organized religions seem to have been bent on subverting and rescinding it, in favor of one or another preferred religious belief, ever since. That bent seems more prevalent today, than at any time since its adoption.
Vincent Dowling left this tortured earth (5/11/13) at a time when his presence and its voice was more needed and missed, than ever in his mellifluous yet unrestrained and courageously candid career. Among his most notable theatrical achievements, beyond the directorship of Dublin’s famed Abbey Theatre, was his giving life to the bedeviling barkeep belittler of political poltroonery, “Mr. Dooley,” who was the creation of Peter Finley Dunne but earned eternal theatrical eminence, via Dowling’s portrayal for the Irish Repertory Theatre’s significant New York production, which achieved historic proportions and endowed both the character and star with a special fraternal identity, that still persists.
Back around 1934 or 1935, when this ancient veteran was in his early teens, my perennial friend and I would saunter the streets of our neighborhood, chanting the latest in ‘smart-aleck’ sayings: “I’m a peaceful guy and I’ll kill the first person who doesn’t believe me!”
As a rising tide of irritation roiled what should have been an energetic second-wind, for gaining new fruit to enrich the electoral edge that OBamians have been thirsting for, this aging veteran was stunned to hear but a single voice raised to protest the temerity of military mischief-in-the-making… and that voice of a Republican rebel, at that. To this ‘pro forma’ civil libertarian, we seem to be on the razor’s edge of a power move, by certain commanders of our various armed forces, toward an American ‘military monopoly.’
This Commentator had decided to devote his essay for today to the two documents which have hung above the desk in his work space, since they were awarded to him, by then Governor Mario M. Cuomo, for his participation and help in achieving major ethics legislation in New York State, on August 7th, 1987. He was going to note how time and trials had wrought changes, which made these documents less important mementos of prior, experience and would then, perhaps, look forward to another time, for yet another, more important change. This might even surpass what was then achieved, to legislate even more important advances in governmental ethics. Alas, it now appears that this will not occur.
When Scottish physicist James Clark Maxwell made the invention of the telephone possible, by unlocking the secret of electro-magnetic waves, in 1878, he playfully wrote of its humble appearance--- “Any disappointment was partially relieved, on finding it was really able to talk.”
Two days ago, this ninety-year-old and extremely unhappy American combat veteran discovered the one irreplaceable loss, he and thousands of fellow sufferers tragically could not afford. For me, the catalyst was a simple yet vitally necessary pair of shoes. Having problem feet created my necessity. Creating the shoes is the proud tradition of the SAS Shoe Makers, of San Antonio, Texas. Actually, they were organized on the Siesta Valley Ranch, outside of San Antonio, inspired by a time when pride in craftsmanship was the vital asset that fuelled the human condition. That craftsmanship (
When the conservative-driven hierarchy of the U.S. Supreme Court dared to re-design the framework of corporate essence into a temporal twin of individual human qualities and characteristics, it did so without a schematic of definitive qualifications. As a result, the outcome was essentially left “up-for-grabs.” In American political parlance, that translates into the singular forensic phrase: “To the highest bidder.”
April is National Poetry Month. In this edition of A Bard's Eye View, WAMC's resident poet, Paul Elisha, sits down for a conversation with Djelloul Marbrook. They discuss Djelloul's work, Brushstrokes and glances.
Djelloul Marbrook's book of poems, Far from Algiers, won the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry. He worked for many years as a reporter and editor for newspapers including the Providence Journal, Elmira Star-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, Winston-Salem Journal, Washington Star, and others. He lives in New York s mid-Hudson Valley with his wife Marilyn.