A Better Place
Why the euphemisms? My father did not pass. Neither did he depart. He died.
By David Sedaris
August 30, 2021
Doesnt all our greatest art address the subject of deathits cruelty, its inevitability? The shadow it casts on our all too brief lives? What does it all mean? we ask ourselves.
Allow me to tell you: death means that the dinner reservation you made for a party of seven needs to be upped to ten, then lowered to nine, and then upped again, this time to fourteen. Eighteen will ultimately show up, so you will have to sit with people you just vaguely remember at a four-top on the other side of the room, listening as the fun table, the one with your sparkling sister at it, laughs and laughs. Or perhaps youre all together but not getting your main courses because the chef, who should be in the kitchen, cooking, is getting dressed down by your brother-in-law, who did not care for the soup. Or maybe your party has been split into six groups of three, or three groups of six. While the specifics blur together, there will remain one constant, which is you, having to hear things like Well, I know that your father did his best.
As for my father, if anything, hes looking up at me, not down. He was ninety-eight. A blessing, you keep saying. He must have been a wonderful man to have been rewarded with such a long life. As if it worked that way, and extra years were tacked on for good behavior. All kinds of good people die young. You know whos living a good long life? Dick Cheney. Henry Kissinger. Rupert Murdoch.
Hell always be with you is another tiresome chestnut that Ill be happy never to hear again. In response to it, I say, What if I dont want him with me? What if sixty-four years of constant criticism and belittlement was enough, and Im actually fine with my father and me going our separate ways, him in a cooler at the funeral home and me here at the kids table. He wont be in his grave for another few days. Is that the better place youve been assuring me hes headed to? The cemetery that people pass on their way to the airport? Perhaps a plot with a view of the Roy Rogers or that car wash that went out of business? And what, exactly, is it better than? This restaurant, clearly, but what else? This state? This country? This Earth?
No offense, but how can you be so sure of his whereabouts? You didnt even know where the mens room was until I told you, so why should I suddenly believe that youre omniscient? The best you can say with any degree of certainty is that my fathers in another place, meaning not the one restaurant in town that could accommodate a party of eighteen with five hours notice, which, hint, it could do only because nobody else wants to eat here, especially me, only I need to keep my strength up. Because Im grieving.
Eric Clapton, Enough Is Enough
By Barry Blitt
Joe Biden ended the war in Afghanistan after 20 years. That's a BFD.
Ending America's longest war despite pressure to keep it going deserves our credit and respect.
Aug. 31, 2021, 5:32 AM EDT
By Mehdi Hasan, MSNBC Opinion Columnist
OK, Ill say it again: I was wrong about Joe Biden.
During the 2020 presidential primaries, I was aghast at the prospect of an Iraq War supporter winning the Democratic nomination. I reminded readers that Biden was the only Democratic candidate to have voted for the Iraq War and had (falsely) claimed the United States had no choice but to eliminate the threat from Saddam Hussein. I said his hawkish foreign policy record should be disqualifying.
I never expected Biden to be anything other than belligerent once he was seated inside the White House Situation Room.
Yet as of Tuesday evening, Biden has done something that three previous presidents either wouldnt or couldnt: ended the longest war in American history. The last U.S. troops left Afghanistan on schedule and ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
But Biden has also done something that no other president has managed to do in living memory: He has stood up to the generals.
He vowed to not repeat the mistakes weve made in the past, mistakes that include attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of U.S. forces.
Americas longest war is over. And it was the guy whom I once dismissed as the hawkish chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who provided cover for Bush's dodgy and dishonest arguments about WMDs who, astonishingly, gets credit for that. To borrow a line from the president himself, its a BFD.
Richard Engel Is Very, Very Sad About U.S. Leaving Afghanistan
For decades, we have poured billions into our wars -- while fighting over every penny intended for the poor.
By Susie Madrak
While we see elite military advisors and journalists predicting dark things for America as a result of leaving Afghanistan, I thought about Martin Luther King Jr.'s seminal speech, "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time To Break Silence":
For years, we've asked, "Why can't America feed our hungry, or provide health care for the sick? Why is there always enough money for war?"
Well, war makes defense contractors, mercenaries, and assorted other people rich. And it gives journalists a high profile that increases their career standing and clout.
Maybe this is one of the reasons Richard Engel is so sad. While war is hell, adrenaline is addicting, and soldiers often have a hard time adjusting to relative calm. The same is probably true of journalists: "Without the war, who am I?"
Well, Richard, your feelings should not be the basis of foreign policy.
You said, "This is the worst capitulation of Western values in my lifetime." Really, Richard? More than the entire Trump era?
Your speech crossed a line, I think. You are neither a historian, nor a pundit. Finally, Richard, you are no Walter Cronkite. No doubt your employer will try to equate your speech with his, but you fall far short of the standard.
We know which side today's media is on, and it ain't ours.
Thank you, President Biden, for choosing the rest of us over the Endless Wars.
Posted on Mon, Aug 30th, 2021 by Jason Easley
Trumps Legacy: Hate Crimes Surged To A 12 Year High In 2020
One of the many bad legacies of the Donald Trump presidency was hate crimes reaching a 12 year high during his final year in office.
Last year had the highest tally of reported hate crime incidents since 2008, when 7,783 incidents were reported to the FBI.
The data released on Monday showed that bias against African Americans overwhelmingly comprised the largest category of reported hate crime offenses pertaining to race, with a total of 56% of those crimes motivated by anti-Black or African American bias. Asians have been targeted during the Covid-19 pandemic amid online and political rhetoric stigmatizing them, though this category of hate crime is often underreported.
Trumps legacy is not just vast amounts of crime and corruption or killing hundreds of thousands of Americans with pandemic management negligence. Trump also remade parts of America into his own bigoted and hateful image.
No president has been viscerally associated with hate more than Donald Trump. The former president didnt invent hate. There has been bigotry and racism in the country long before it was the United States.
Trump took the hate out of the nations darkest corners, gave it a stamp of approval, and made it mainstream.
Hatred is who Trump is, and his mentality was reflected in the federal hate crime statistics.
I sincerely hope desantis is digging his own grave.
Florida Is Now Refusing to Pay School Board Members Who Order Mask Mandates
Published Aug. 31, 2021 5:06AM ET
US to be removed from EU travel 'safe list': report
By Joseph Choi - 08/30/21 08:11 AM EDT
The European Union is reportedly planning to recommend that its member nations reinstate restrictions on travelers from the U.S. due to the rising level of COVID-19 infections.
EU diplomats speaking to The Associated Press said the recommendation to reverse a June decision to lift restrictions on U.S. travelers could come as early as this week. However, the AP reports that any decision regarding this matter would be nonbinding, as the EU does not have a unified COVID-19 policy on tourism.
The Hill has reached out to the EU for further comment.
The criteria for allowing residents to travel into the EU for nonessential travel requires no more than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 over the past two weeks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has been more than 11,000 per 100,000 for the past two weeks. Most recently, 11,810 cases per 100,000 were reported.
Posted on Mon, Aug 30th, 2021 by Jason Easley
1/6 Committee Wants The Phone Records Of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, And Other
The 1/6 Committee has asked telecom companies to preserve the phone records of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, and other House Republicans.
The list is said to be evolving and could be added to as the investigation steps up. As of now, it includes Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar also of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jody Hice of Georgia and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
Dozens Of House Republicans Potentially Involved In The 1/6 Attack
Kevin McCarthy is not on this list because the issue involving McCarthy isnt the organization and support of the 1/6 rally, but the House Minority Leaders conversations with Trump on 1/6.
The request to preserve the phone records suggests that the Committee is investigating a conspiracy to attack the Capitol. At the center of any organized effort to incite the crowd on 1/6 will be Donald Trump.
It is now clear why House Republicans have been trying to stop this investigation. Potentially dozens of members were involved in the 1/6 attack in some way.
The investigation could be devastating for the House GOPs chances in 2022, which is why there is so much distraction and cover-up surrounding the events of January 6.
Posted on Mon, Aug 30th, 2021 by Alan Ryland
Rand Paul Says Hatred for Trump Influences Scientists Not Studying Ivermectin as Potential Covid-19
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) claimed that researchers wont study ivermectin, a toxic anti-parasitic used to treat parasitic worms, lice, and skin problems in livestock because of their hatred for ex-President Donald Trump.
Although he acknowledged that he does not know if ivermectin works, Paul said he will keep an open mind.
Former President Trump often promoted treatments that have not been shown to be effective in preventing or curing Covid-19 infections. He infamously endorsed using hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, when in office, even though doctors advised against it.
Ivermectin has not been shown to be effective in preventing or curing Covid-19 infections. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned advised individuals to stop taking it after receiving reports that people had been hospitalized for using the drug.
There's chaos and risk in Afghanistan exit, but Biden critics are getting it mostly wrong
We have no ongoing security interest in Afghanistan, and we don't send troops everywhere to protect women and human rights. We do that in other ways.
The intellectual dishonesty in critiques of how President Joe Biden is handling the U.S. departure from Afghanistan has been off the charts. That's not to say some of them are not warranted. They certainly are. The swift fall of Kabul to the Taliban was predictable, and there is a case that we should have been better prepared for it. And there is no doubt that the risks we faced were great, as shown by the Kabul airport attack last week that claimed the lives of at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.
But some of the arguments we are hearing are indefensible. Among the worst:
No. The authors of 20 years of war own this. The corrupt Afghan government and the Afghan military who stood down own this. The Trump administration that set the deadlines, drew down the troops, left behind the materiel and released up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners owns this.
No. There's no way that the Taliban regaining control would not have led to chaos with many thousands of Afghans seeking to escape the rule of a thug regime. Whenever we began to airlift folks out, it would have started.
I'm going to give you this one, but it should be noted that efforts to prepare were rebuffed. The Afghan government did not want the United States beginning mass evacuations for the reasons cited in No. 2.
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