Bob Higgins

The More You Watch, the Worse You Feel / Marty Kaplan

Victor VasarelyBy Marty Kaplan / Huffington Post

As if the triple whammy of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster weren’t enough to enthrall and terrify us, the war in Libya is now providing cable news viewers a fresh hell to follow 24/7.

But wait, as they say in the infomercials — there’s more. In Bahrain, Saudi tanks and troops are violently cracking down on pro-democracy activists; in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is moving toward power; in Yemen, security forces, firing from the rooftops, have killed scores of demonstrators; in Syria, troops are shooting into crowds of protesting civilians; and last week’s news from Israel and the Palestinian territories was enough to make anyone rage and wail.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? In Madison, Wisc. and other state capitals, Republicans are demonizing public employees, stripping workers of their rights and using deficits as an excuse to transfer wealth from the middle to the top. In Washington, D.C., every Republican on the environment subcommittee says that climate change is a hoax, and every Republican on the financial institutions subcommittee says banks are the victims, not the perpetrators, of the recession. Who has enough spare neurons to cope with that, let alone the defunding of NPR and Planned Parenthood? Do you have some mindshare left for a campaign finance system that’s corrupting both political parties? For the obesity epidemic? For the worst youth unemployment in history?

Read more: Marty Kaplan/The More You Watch, the Worse You Feel. (more…)

“As Good As Christina Imagined It” Has Broader Applications

Posted in History, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 13, 2011
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I Want America To Be As Good As She Imagined It

President and Mrs. Obama at Rep Giffords Memorial. AP Photo

The President is a master of rhetoric in situations like this; ‘I Want America To Be As Good As She Imagined It,’ is a phrase that will live long in the recorded history of these tragic murders and criminal assaults.

It’s unfortunat­e that we won’t apply the words to our behavior in areas related directly to this event, as in improving delivery of mental health care, being much more careful about who has access to guns, or taking people to task for incitefull­y violent public commentary­.

It’s even more of a shame that we refuse to listen to this young girl’s voice when we wage war on innocent people all over the globe, when we deprive or abet the deprivatio­n of the availabili­ty of basic human needs, of clean water, food, shelter and dignity.

Shameful too, both here and abroad is our ongoing practice of locking people away indefinite­ly, without charges, submitting them to torture, without legal recourse, without evidence that they have wronged us, under the pretext of keeping America safe.

The difference­s between what our children imagine is America, and what is actual, what is true, should be required study for children in early grades to prepare them for the traumatic shock of the realities that lie in wait just over their horizons of innocence.

Bob Higgins

Morning Reads Here in Flyover-ville

Posted in Humor, News, Politics, Pop Culture, Religion, Veterans News by Bob Higgins on September 14, 2010
  • Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: …as a graphic illustration of Islamophobia defeated, nothing beats what happened in Amarillo, Texas, the same day. David Grisham, the wacko director of one Repent Amarillo organization, who had planned his own Koran-burning session in support of Gainesville, Florida, pastor and instant global celebrity Terry Jones, was about to commit the act in front of around 200 people when, out of nowhere comes … ‘Dude, you have no Koran’
  • Bob Egelko, SanFrancisco Chronicle: State regulators will take their first look today at a proposal backed by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that would require customers to pay all costs of catastrophic fires, such as last week’s gas-line explosion in San Bruno, that exceed a utility’s insurance coverage. San Bruno blast: PG&E backs bid to bill public
  • Tomgram, Engelhardt and Turse: Oh, those madcap Pentagon bureaucrats and the zany horde of generals and admirals who go with them! Give them credit: no one on Earth knows how to throw a war like they do — and they never go home. The Wacky World of American War
  • Ted Koppel,Washington Post: The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, succeeded far beyond anything Osama bin Laden could possibly have envisioned. This is not just because they resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, nor only because they struck at the heart of American financial and military power. Those outcomes were only the bait; it would remain for the United States to spring the trap Nine years after 9/11, let’s stop playing into bin Laden’s hands
  • Matt Stopera, BuzzFeed: A wonderful collection of Teabagger drag. The 13 Hottest Fashion Trends At The 9/12 Tea Party Rally
  • David Evans, Bloomberg: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request. Veterans Agency Made Secret Deal Over Benefits

Imperial Airliner, London 1930s

Burning Korans and Teabaggers for Jesus

Posted in Humor, News, Politics, Pop Culture, Religion by Bob Higgins on September 10, 2010
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I’m not a big fan of symbolism, religious or political; the flag waving at the Olympics, hands held over hearts at ball games and auto races, fingers pointed at the sky or genuflection in the end zone strikes me as empty, meaningless, affected behavior. I prefer more tangible substance, facts and deeds over these public “going through the motions” displays of piety and patriotism.  But that’s just me.

If I did care for symbolism this would be the week that I opted for the great symbolic slam dunk, the turducken of religious and nationalistic display. I would get a bunch of “holy books” all the usual stuff “the majors” and all the other “holy” tomes I could find and wrap them in an Israeli flag, then an Iraqi flag, followed by the flag of Iran and the US Stars and Stripes. I would tie the package up in a prayer rug of the kind advertised by late night TV evangelists in exchange for a “love offering” and set fire to the whole silly mess in the nearest place that allows bonfires, sit down, pop open a beer and call the media.

I’d likely become as famous as a rock star in 24 hours.

They call him “pastor,” they call him reverend, they say he is “godly,” a holy man, beloved of and by “god.” “They” as close as I can determine, are the approximately 50 people who are members of his Florida “church,” the Dove World Outreach Center… honest, that’s what they call it and it earns them a federal tax exemption. I’ve seen him. (more…)