So for the record, there are no actual Mount Rushmores for sports. There’s no baseball Rushmore, with Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron chiseled into some rock ledge. And there’s no mountain with Johnny Unitas next to Jim Brown. So any discussion of the Mount Rushmore of any sport is purely hypothetical, as are many sports debates.
Holocaust museums around the globe present in remarkably graphic form pre-war Nazi conditions that promoted anti-Semitism and the belief that Jews were sub-human. Children read schoolbooks in which Jews were depicted as exploitive, dangerous, lacking in essential human qualities. Jews were demonized to an extent that led inexorably to concentration camps and extermination. The horror of this period is told and retold in museums as a reminder that this must never happen again. Propaganda of a vicious variety has consequences, a condition the world now knows all too well.
I don’t think of myself as a motivational speaker. I try to explain, and hope my commentaries provide helpful explanations. But this time, I want to challenge and motivate everyone to take strong action on the environmental catastrophe facing us.
Ever attentive to America’s inescapable political history, this archaic commentator still responds to twinges that have shaped what we’ve become in spite of reality… the tawdry yet timid duality that has fused our presidential pride with the instinctive itch of make-a-buck ambition and still spells, sells, yet never seems to quell our energetic nationhood.
As I reflect on and celebrate Pete Seeger’s life, I’m reminded that in the great tradition of American folk music, the lyrics, for the most part, remain constant while their applicability often evolves with the changing times. The revising and honing of folk songs keep them relevant, and serve as catalysts for social change from one generation to the next.
It wasn’t long ago when it seemed that the tobacco lobby’s stranglehold over New York policymaking was finally broken. In addition to federal court decisions, state actions were being taken. During the years of the Pataki Administration, the state raised its tobacco tax, enacted one of the nation’s most sweeping restrictions on smoking in public places and in work environments. The Spitzer Administration bolstered funding for the state’s tobacco control efforts, helping it rise to the 5th most well-resourced program in the nation. In the Paterson Administration, New York raised its tobacco tax rate to the highest in the nation.
Moving from New York City to Raleigh, North Carolina upon ordination was my first serious foray out of a somewhat insular northeastern cocoon and into “real” America. I was not exactly sheltered until then. I grew up in an ethnically diverse Queens neighborhood, and the inner city public high school I attended was a testing ground for class and racial coexistence. Still, I thought I knew what difference was until I discovered how different difference could be in the same country, less than five hundred miles south of where I grew up. The Raleigh and East Carolinas that I remember from the early nineteen nineties were a study in contrasts. The city is part of an urban powerhouse of cosmopolitanism that attracts people and businesses from all over the world. Yet it also boasts some of the world’s most rigidly conservative churches and it sits in the midst of the American tobacco farming industry, a very traditionalist, hierarchical culture.
I’ve never been a big fan of actor Matthew McConaughey, but his recent award winning performance in The Dallas Buyers Club might change my opinion of him. In that movie The Dallas Buyers Club, Mr. McConaughey plays the role of Ron Woodroof, a real-life Texas cowboy who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1985.
At President Obama’s State of The Union Address scant attention was given to foreign policy. He did note that “the war in Afghanistan is coming to end;” but in reality the war continues. It just so happens the U.S. will be absent from it. Yet the truncated reporting on foreign policy is suggestive. Could it be there is little to report or is it more telling to suggest that there is little good news to report?