Friday, August 22, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Some more on Ferguson: "In Ferguson the violence of the state created the violence of the street." Excerpt:
In 1966, Martin Luther King started to campaign against segregation in Chicago only to find his efforts thwarted by violent mobs and a scheming mayor. Marginalised by the city’s establishment, he could feel that non-violence both as a strategy and as a principle was eroding among his supporters. “I need some help in getting this method across,” he said. “A lot of people have lost faith in the establishment … They’ve lost faith in the democratic process. They’ve lost faith in non-violence … [T]hose who make this peaceful revolution impossible will make a violent revolution inevitable, and we’ve got to get this over, I need help. I need some victories, I need concessions.”
    He never got them. The next year there were more than 150 riots across the country, from Minneapolis to Tampa.
    As the situation escalates in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where police recently shot an unarmed black man as he walked down the street, many are clearly losing faith. As the first day of curfew drew to a close, hundreds of police in riot gear swept through the streets, using tear gas, smoke canisters and rubber bullets against an increasingly agitated crowd. Earlier this morning the governor, Jay Nixon, deployed the national guard.

Is everyone appreciating the irony of a black two-term U.S. president interrupting his 2014 vacation at elite and "lily-white" (80% Caucasian) Martha's Vineyard to deal with racial violence straight out of the 1950s, or maybe even the 1850s, that was spawned by a white cop shooting an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri?

I won't dignify the atrocity by providing the link or watching the video of American journalist James Foley being beheaded by an Islamic jihadist, but listening to a sound byte on the radio, I was stunned to hear the terrorist speaking in immaculate British "English" that sounded far more erudite than typical American "English." Now I know why: "'British' jihadist who beheaded journalist is Londoner called John." And we thought FOX News was home of the educated lunatic fringe.
    In an unrelated broadcast I was also surprised to hear there is "concern" among British and U.S. defense intelligence and law enforcement officials about how to deal with the threat that British and U.S. citizens pose when they return home from fighting abroad on the behalf of various Islamic terrorist groups. To clarify: these officials weren't talking about unknown citizens fighting abroad as jihadists and sneaking back home; they were discussing known individuals who have been positively identified. Not to ask a stupid question, but why are they allowed to return home? Last time I was interviewed, I was described as having "strong liberal credentials" but even I can't fathom why anyone who leaves their home in Europe or America, to fight on the behalf of those who behead innocent journalists, would be greeted upon their arrival back home with anything other than a shotgun blast to the chest.
    There is a time for rational, liberal understanding, and there is a time for a decisive, final solution. Exactly where does one even begin attempt to find common ground to open a dialogue to negotiate with people who behead journalists, and who stone women to death who "commit adultery" by being raped? It seemed surreal at the time, but as I think back to the Clinton era, when India and Pakistan were "saber rattling" and on the verge of launching limited nuclear warfare in the Kashmir region, and U.S. military officials were inclined to let them to have at it - and I have to wonder if it is actually possible the world would be a better place if the region had been laid to waste and all that has since sprung forth from it would have been destroyed before it even began to take shape.

Don't even get me started on the Amish. We had a running battle with them for two years in Pennsylvania, and now they are buying land in Upstate New York, where prices have collapsed and there is less scrutiny because everyone there still buys the Amish myth rather than learning the Amish reality. Way beyond puppy mills, I also wish someone would go after them for what they put their children through.
    Just about everyone thinks highly of the Amish, because they know nothing about them but the myth. Here's more to know, from a fairly wide variety of sources:

As it turns out, the cause of heart disease is also the cause of diabetes. Wonder of wonders! FOX NEWS gets something right!
FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Is Rand Paul making a leap from uber conservative to moderate, or from libertarian to liberal?: "With Ferguson essay, Rand Paul proves a very different Republican." Excerpt:
Win or lose—and there’s no question he’s running—Rand Paul has firmly established himself as the most intriguing Republican eyeing the White House in 2016.
    Thursday brought fresh evidence as the Kentucky senator leaped headlong into the racial cauldron that is Ferguson, Mo., with a bluntly stated Time magazine essay on the police shooting of Michael Brown. Weighing in was hardly a surprise; there are flies circling honey pots with more restraint than a politician given a chance to hold forth on the issue of the day.
    Rather, what was striking was the angry tone and underlying sympathies of Paul’s essay, a condemnation of the “rising militarization of law enforcement” in the country and assertion that equal justice under law is more a pleasing bromide than reality on the streets of 2014 America.

I like to go the extra mile for my friends. So when I saw President Clinton's birthday looming out there on my calendar I couldn't resist recording a special message for him. And since I'm in the midst of filming the next season of House of Cards, I decided it might be fun if Frank Underwood and my friend Hillary Clinton got involved. What do you think?

Limerick of the week:
There was a young writer named Francis
Who concocted such lurid romances
    That his publishers said
    You will kill this firm dead
If you don't put a curb on your fancies.
[From Ina Coolbrith to Bret Harte (first name Francis). They were friends in San Francisco during the 1860s. –From Ben Tarnoff's 2014 book, The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature, p. 170]

Copyright © 2014 by Morris Dean


  1. Quite the trawl of important information on weighty topics, but that amazing photo of the lion, bear and tiger obviously enjoying hanging out together says something profound all by itself. That is three different supposedly unintelligent and potentially adversarial species happily getting along, too bad the members of the supposedly most intelligent species can't figure out how to do that.

    1. Bravo! Thank you for making today's column's subtext explicit.

  2. Thanks to my thoughtful, actively caring correspondents for the fish: Michael Brown late of Ferguson Missouri, James Foley late of Islamic jihadist captivity, another abuse by the Amish, the cause of heart disease AND diabetes, Rand Paul enigma, the wisdom of Carl Sagan, truth & delusion, "Happy Birthday" from Frank Underwood Spacey, the lion, the bear & the tiger, a symptom of laziness, who's pillaging our country's resources?, limerick by Ina Coolbrith to Bret Harte....

  3. Good stuff---even the Limerick made sense today.