First Posted: December 29, 2010
Welcome to Issue No. 14! As I type, the Northeast is being socked by its first winter storm of the season and it’s definitely making a statement. Hope you’re someplace warm and enjoying the remainder of the holidays.
The commentary last issue focused on President Obama’s strategy to defer to the Republicans on further extending the tax cuts to the super wealthy and the disappointment it registered among the progressives. The cause and effect is still murky but somehow the Democrats came out fighting for meaningful legislation, threatening to keep Congress going through the holidays if necessary. The Dems put the Lame Duck on Steroids and came up with some very worthy results.
The Republican backlash was predictably shallow: Senator Jim DeMint expressed his anger to Politico saying, “You can’t jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas, [this] is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians.” He conveniently ignored the fact that the Republicans were stalling the START treaty for over six months. The clips of Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona (see below) whining about the Democrats “disrespecting the institution and… disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians” were a hoot until you thought about all the Tea Party folks who agree with him. Senate Majority Leader Reid’s response to these jokers was firm and right on target:
I don’t need to hear the sanctimonious lectures of Senator Kyl and DeMint to remind me of what Christmas means. . . . [S]ome of my Republican colleagues have the nerve to whine about having to stay and actually do the work that the American people pay us to do. We make large salaries . . . we could work as most Americans do during the holidays. . . . It’s offensive to me and millions of working Americans across this country for any Senator to suggest that working through the Christmas holidays is somehow sacrilegious or disrespectful.”
Progressive columnist Robert Creamer responded:
Perhaps, I thought, Senator Kyl forgot for a moment that Christmas celebrates the birth of the “Prince of Peace” — that the Christmas story is about “Peace on Earth, good will to men.” Could there be a better way to celebrate Christmas than to approve a peace accord that would reduce the risk of nuclear war?
The rest of his column in the Huffington Post is worth reading.
When Opinion8ed went to body shop for an overhaul last issue, the lack of literary reviews was staring me square in the face. So in keeping with an early New Year’s resolution, this issue features a review of the New York Times Bestseller, Little Bee – a powerful and well crafted novel about the chance collision of two disparate worlds. A collision that knocks a hole in the protective barrier hiding the grim realities of the Third World from view. We journey back and forth between the worlds and quickly learn that there is light and darkness, hope and despair a plenty on both sides of the fence.
While many of us have hobbies that attract our interest, few take them seriously enough to become internationally recognized experts. This issue we meet Herbert Plever who, over 50 years ago took an interest in the exotic tropical plant family known as bromeliads, and perfected the art of growing them indoors, turning his New York apartment into a veritable botanical garden. Read about these interesting plants (Oh Bromeliana, Won’t You Bloom For Me) and listen in as we interview Mr. Plever – then check out some of his prize specimens in the Bromeliad Photo Journal.
In the Truth is More Fascinating Than Fiction department, two recent films deserve a look.The King’s Speech is the story of King George VI who overcame a severe speech impediment to provide inspiration to a nation in need in the form of morale boosting radio addresses during World War II. And finally, we finished up the fall film festival at Stony Brook on a high note with the soon to be classic, Get Low – the story of an eccentric old codger in the hills of Tennessee who held his funeral before he died so he could hear the eulogies about his life.
With all the talk recently about blogs I call your attention to the newly unveiled,Approximate Blog. Here you are invited to read and place comments about what you have (or haven’t) read amongst these pages or to share what’s on your mind for others to ponder. You can send those comments by clicking on the Comments box below and start blogging or if you prefer the old-fashioned method simply emailing to Opinion8ed.email@example.com.