Sunday, March 28, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
In recent years, Buddy donated virually his only possession, a Miles Davis' trumpet, valued at $1.6 million, to UNC-G, "because Miles would have wanted it that way", Buddy says. Also in recent years, Buddy became homeless and could be seen in sleeping in Center City Park before he was "rescued " by some UNC-G musicians and helped to a shelter and then to a nursing home. They come from all over to visit him. At age 85, he's in bad shape now.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
American politics has become so toxic today. There is no place for a John Warner today. Health Care Reform (HCR) has become no more than an "us versus them" exercise in Washington, regardless of the possible merits of the bill. Senator Jim DeMint has said that he will run on a pledge to repeal HCR, no matter how it looks, and the GOP said they will vote in unison against it, no matter how many of their ideas are included.
What if there were a leader or a President with whom most everyone agreed on virtually all issues? Is that the goal? That is probably not the goal. Healthy debate and constructive opposition is essential to developing sound public policy in a diverse democracy.
Drafting and passing effective legislation should be done based on sound, eternal principles. Those principles should be well-founded. They should be rooted in fairness and in the constitution. They should reflect wise precedent and be rooted in respect for the views of ours. To that end, the approach should be, as Dr. Covey would say, based on the concept of "seeking first to understand, then to being understood". This, and the keen understanding of the views of others which results, is the basis for effective interaction. What results will generally satisfy the objectives for well-balanced legislation, benefiting the largest majority of citizens.
The other missing ingredient today is trust. Legislators must build trusting relationships with each other. This was the case 50 years ago, but not today. Legislators 50 years ago would stay in Washington over the weekend and socialize together. They would ride the train together to and from Washington. They got to know each and each other's families. That relationship and that trust which developed was the basis for cooperation and it is missing today. It needs to be restored.
Let's keep encouraging and hoping for more balanced and effective legislation, and legislators, in Washington, both based on sound principles and trusting relationships. And Senator Warner, thanks for your life of service.... and the reminder.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
How scary that a right-wing faction of the Texas Board of Education succeeded last week in injecting their worldview into textbooks that could be taught to millions of students for the next decade. Although I refer below to a few of the particular provisions included or excluded by the Board, the most disturbing fact is that such action sets in motion a battle for control of textbook content for the future. (Apparently, Texas written textbooks are subject to being sold nationwide).
How ludicrous it is to have textbooks manipulated and skewed based on political and ideological bents of fanatical school board members at any particular point in time, be they liberal or conservative board members. The board is setting themselves up, each term, for the change of textbook emphasis and language based on political climate and make-up of the school board. In my view, this is just an extention of the polarization of American politics and attitudes which is preyed upon and exacerbated by cable news and talk radio entertainers and "clowns".
To provide a few examples (in addition to the links below) of what the right-wingers have done, first they have, in essence, excluded reference of Thomas Jefferson in favor of religious leader John Calvin. Teachers will be required to "not highlight" rationale for the separation of church and state and will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influence of the founding fathers. Focus has been elevated and criticism tempered for Senator Joe McCarthy, and praise included for Phyllis Schaffly, the 1994 Contract On America, and Jerry Farwell's Moral Majority. Reference to the appointment of Justice Sonya Sotomayer was rejected by the right-wingers.
Below are a couple of significant new clips, one ABC News and the other CNN, which will help put the issue in perspective and provide more specific examples of the tampering. These news clips provide good summaries of the delimna which has developed as a result of the misguided action of the Texas school board.
This action bodes terribly for the direction of civil discourse in America. It should be of grave concern to all parents whose children might be exposed to this "information". Worse, it reminds us of the sad place we find ourselves in our attempt to be the diverse, yet respectful, "community" which I believe we were intended to be.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I am pleased to have run into Don quite a few times over the years. I am especially happy to have renewed my friendship with him on facebook. We have exchanged quite a bit of information and opinion over the past months by way of facebook. Unfortunately, we intended to get together this Spring, but that will not happen.
While he had varied interests such as sports, beach music, golf, and politics, Don's life was centered on his faith and his religion. I consider myself a person of strong faith, so he and I often exchanged thoughts and views on our faith. We did not always agree on emphasis or focus regarding our faith, but I was pleased that we had this important facet of our lives in common. I was impressed by the committed nature of his faith and his views and, although we occasionally became frustrated with each other, I am certain we respected each other's perspective in the end.
Attached is a wonderful column that Scott Yost, columnist for The Rhino Times, wrote about meeting Don on a couple of occasions. As with Don, I do not necessarily agree with all of Yost's "take" on religion in the column. But for me, it is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. This is just a wonderful, thought provoking, perspective on faith, and on Scott's "accidental" meeting of my unique friend, Don McLean.
I hope you will read it. Don McLean was an interesting, well-informed person of strong faith...... and he was a good guy. R.I.P Don.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
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- A Yankees Old Timer's Game
- A Funny But Tough And Solid VP
- What is the Rage Really About?
- Greensboro's Buddy Gist and His Jazz Legend Friend...
- Health Care Reform and Beyond
- Politics in America......Toxic
- The Texas Textbook Controversy and Debacle
- Scott Yost of "The Rhino Times" Reflects on Meetin...
- Snowy Mid-Week Again, As Fun Weekend Approaches
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