Last month the nation recognized the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and our entry into the Second World War. Prior to that day the United States was divided as to whether or not the country should enter the war that had been raging in Europe for more than two years.
Over fifty years have passed since Shock Theater ended. The program’s cancellation ended Ernie Anderson’s wig-loving Ghoulardi caricature, who at the time was a famous, over-the-top late-night performer who helped solidify Parma’s image as a town populated by polka-lovin’, high-socks-wearin’ working class people obsessed with pink flamingo lawn ornaments.
I am quite sure that most of us are optimistically looking at 2022 as being a good year. One in which we are not inundated with news items about covid 19, vaccinations and quarantines. A year where we can go to restaurants and visit family, enjoy party gatherings and sporting events, or visit a friend or relative in a hospital or nursing home without any fears. The impact of covid over the past two years has certainly altered our lifestyles and enhanced our awareness of health issues. There is one health issue that has taken a toll known as the silent killer…….Stress !
Good news from heaven the angels bring,
In the 1960s Broadway musical and movie Mame, the title character is an eccentric woman named Auntie Mame who is the central character of the story. Toward the end of the first act, the 1929 stock market crash leaves the family destitute and the mood becomes as gloomy as the weather. To liven things up and ease the depression, she sings a rousing musical number that has become the most popular song from that play and movie, “We Need a Little Christmas” as she lavishly decorates the family home for the holidays.
Deborah received one of Australia’s highest individual honors, the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2008 and is the chair for the non-profit, Australian Koala Foundation. Deborah wrote a Koala Manifesto stating 10 solutions as to what needs to be done so the koala's existence is ensured and thrives, firstly by initiating into law, The Koala Protection Act. The book contains a plethora of current and historical information and pictures.
Not a morning goes by I don't wake up grinding-my-teeth furious that, as humans, we're simply not working hard enough to bring this planet down so that we can move to our new home in my lifetime. It's time we admit what the richest people on this planet already know: Earth is just a stepping stone and, though those who've thrived here have done so through adaptation, the new law means colonizing and despoiling of a pristine planet where adaptation can be circumvented, if needed.
It was just eighteen months ago after the pandemic forced a massive shut down of the nation’s economy that the Department of Labor’s unemployment rate reached over 14%, a rate not seen since the 1930s. Now the unemployment rate has fallen to almost pre pandemic levels. Yet there seems to be a severe shortage of workers in many businesses and industries.
One of the major reasons why it seems that the country is so divided and dysfunctional right now is that perhaps too many Americans have lost our sense of being part if a larger community and have retreated into our own little bubble of family and close friends. Of course, this has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Hey YOU!” “Hey YOU back!” I shouted. As I turned to see who was calling out with such a loud voice, there appeared an adorable little girl. She came barreling up the sidewalk on her two wheeler bicycle headed right to my driveway. Apparently, my drive had become the official turn around point and “that's as far as you are allowed to travel” location. It had been sometime since I saw children playing in the neighborhood. Children who are now older and heading off to college. It was good to see little ones once again.
Hunting is inextricably tied to feelings of inferiority and atrocities against humans.
Hunters first learn to objectify, even sexualize the animals they kill, then transfer their pathology onto women and outside social groups. It's clear there's something sinister lurking in the brains of those who intentionally maim (bow hunting results in at least a 54% or higher wound rate) and slaughter nonhuman animals, particularly deer whose beauty, disposition, and comparable size are virtually unmatched in the natural world. In the foreword of Jim Robertson's Exposing the Big Game, the illustrious Captain Paul Watson states: " hunters can be described quite adequately as sadistic perverts and social deviants." Watson adds, "there is nothing to be admired from those who kill for pleasure, sport and short term gratification due to frustrated sexual inadequacies."
Before I started writing this column, I received the news that the Phizer COVID vaccine has received the full approval from the FDA. No doubt that the other COVID vaccines will also receive the full approval from the FDA soon. As soon as the FDA gave approval of the Phizer vaccine, the Pentagon has ordered that all active duty and reserve troops must be vaccinated against COVD as soon as possible or face disciplinary action. At the same time I also saw that the city of New York has mandated vaccines for all public and school employees.
Forrest Gump said it best in the movie; “Stupid is as stupid does”. Many years after those words were spoken on the movie screen, it seems that many people in the United States are proving Forrest Gump was correct.
We often hear that the deep divide in this country is due to partisan politics. But what drives partisan politics is the loss of the simple concept of right and wrong plus a great deal of ignorance and deceit. It actually started during the Clinton administration. According to Bill Clinton, lying was only wrong for other people. For him it depended “on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.” And then it spread to Congress. Prior to Clinton, when Democrats decided to impeach Richard Nixon for covering up Watergate, the Republican leadership told Nixon that what he had done was wrong and that they wouldn't support him. Consequently, he resigned. Clinton committed perjury, a felony. That had already been proven and he lost his law license over it. But when he was impeached he decided the law didn't apply to him, only to other people. Senate Democrats agreed. In his trial, every single Democrat chose partisanship over right and wrong and voted not guilty.
This is an addendum to my recent columns from the past two months.
Wilmer McLean was a grocer who lived near Manassas Virginia. On Sunday July 21 1861, his house became involved in the First Battle of Bull Run. Wishing to escape the war, he sold that house and moved further south and west to a small community named Appomattox Court House. Then on Sunday April 9, 1865, his house was again involved in history as General Grant met with General Robert E Lee in the parlor of McLean’s house to discuss the surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, ending the Civil War.
In 1955, a young Senator from Massachusetts, John F Kennedy, wrote a book while recovering from surgery on his back about Senators who exemplified courage to either speak out against injustice or bad policy. The book was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1956 and became a best seller. A few years later the author was elected the 35th President of the United States.
President Biden has introduced a massive two trillion dollar infrastructure bill that would not only repair our bridges and highways, but also bring broadband internet service to every corner of the country and increase renewable energy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. This is a very big undertaking that has the potential to revolutionize our nation and keep the United States a world leader well into the 21st century. This bill is also called the American Jobs Plan and that much is true as the infrastructure projects will create thousands of well paying jobs throughout the country. It will also help reshape the nation for the remainder of this century.
During the week of April 4-10, we join libraries in communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week, a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers.
I am sure that many of us have seen the classic 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It was a movie about a naïve young man appointed to fill a vacancy in the Senate. The lead character, Jefferson Smith is played by Jimmy Stewart and the movie was directed by Frank Capra. There is a climactic scene at the end of the movie where Mr. Smith conducts a filibuster on the floor of the Senate in support of a bill authorizing the government to buy some land in his state for a boy’s camp. But a corrupt political machine had already rigged the vote against the project because they wanted the land for their own purposes. I won’t spoil the movie, but this movie is a classic “feel good” movie.
My father introduced me to many old expressions from his days. One of them was an old Army expression from the Second World War. It was SNAFU; which was short for “situation normal, all fouled up”. That expression from a bygone era clearly describes how our federal government has fouled up everything related to this pandemic.
Last month we saw the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States and the changing of the nation’s head of state. This month we celebrate President’s Day. How many people realize that there are within an easy drive from Parma four presidential homes or museums that are open to the public?
It's the 21st year of the 21st century. Time to reconcile that there can be no social justice or human rights without animal rights. When we choose to treat other beings with less than the right to exist for their own sake, we forfeit our own rights. This is not merely a call to veganism, though that would constitute a demonstrably huge step in the right direction. It is an awakening. A consciousness that informs, that is the bedrock of, ALL social justice. Until we can look into the eyes of other beings, great and small, from elephants and whales to ants and spiders, and honestly, humbly see ourselves looking back at us, we cannot call ourselves religious, empathetic or godly. It is impossible to love God while cherry-picking for whom we have mercy. When we witness tax funded police absolved of murdering and terrorizing people of color and feel outrage, we should also feel pain and grief for all the imprisoned, shackled, lynched, slain, impaled, hunted, chased-down, commodified and profited-off-of other beings.
As I am writing this, the year 2020 is closing out with two weeks left until we put up the calendar for 2021. To say that this year has been one that few will long remember is an understatement. A year ago everyone knew that the election would be contentious and it sure was that. But no one could have predicted a year ago the kind of year that 2020 would become.
I was really rooting for Parma’s education bill to pass. The schools have desperately needed the funding ever since ex-Superintendent Jeffrey Graham bankrupted the district and fled to Lorain, who then had the audacity to turn around and sue our school system in 2019 for telling the truth: our school district’s money troubles were the direct result of his leadership. I mention this so you, dear fellow Parma resident, may consider this point in future school levies.
In the Broadway musical Les Miserables based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel of 19th century France; there is a poignant musical number in the second act called Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. The scene is where a group of women lament about the students and friends who gathered at the café were all killed when the French army stormed the barricades during a protest against conditions in Paris during unrest in 1830.
Most of my baby boom generation grew up in a double parent, single income family where the father went off to work and the mother stayed home to take care of the children. That was back in the 1950s and into the 1960s. It was a “Leave it to Beaver” type of family life as portrayed on numerous television shows of that era.
Small businesses have an uphill battle to flourish with the challenges in front of them. First, Covid and ongoing street projects. Pearl Road in Parma Heights is lined with shops that offer gifts you can't buy anywhere else. Explore storefront shops where merchants welcome you with “indie” finds and personalized service. An added benefit is not getting stampeded by a crowd of shoppers lunging for a $300 plasma TV.
Yesterday the President of the United States told his supporters to commit voter fraud. He did so on camera. It was not a joke. It was not ironic. The president called for his supporters to game the system:
The election this year is one of the most important elections in our nation’s history. Since our country’s founding 244 years ago, there have been divisions among Americans. In 1776, the divisions were between loyalists who wanted to remain subject to England and rebels who wanted independence. Even after the constitution was ratified, there were divisions about its interpretation and the power of the federal government.
As the summer winds down into autumn and the political season heats up toward the November election; this year has brought back an iconic American tradition, the road trip. Whether it is just a day trip locally, a weekend trip or a longer excursion to some place in another part of the country, the road trip is an American institution that has gained favor in this year of the COVID pandemic.
The hit movie Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks playing the central character gave the world a great expression; “Stupid is as stupid does”. That well known expression perfectly describes the condition of the United States in the summer of 2020. There has been a pandemic raging across the country and it has killed more Americans than all the wars since 1945 combined. Yet it seems that many people are behaving as if they are invincible or are just plain stupid.
In Ohio the Confederate flag is the flag of the enemy. It is the flag of the armies Ohio soldiers defeated. Waving or displaying the Confederate flag in Ohio is waving or displaying the flag of the enemy. If your father, grandfather or great grandfather fought in the Second World War against fascism, I am sure you would be offended by someone flying the flag of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan.
On the evening of Thursday May 21, I was jolted out of my sofa by a police siren followed by the loud horn of a fire engine. Something was going on, so I went outside to look. What I saw was amazing. The police car and fire engine were followed by a long parade of cars decorated up with the Valley Forge High School graduating class of 2020. Unlike previous graduating classes, the class of 2020 could not have their traditional graduation ceremony or a senior prom.
June’s Asset Category: BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS
May’s Asset Category: COMMITMENT TO LEARNING Commitment to learning doesn’t happen naturally in all young people. Instilling this important trait involves a combination of values and skills that include the desire to succeed in school, a sense of the lasting importance of learning, and a belief in one’s own ability. This commitment is strongly influenced by the school environment and relationships with family and peers. The more committed a child is to learning, the more likely it is that she or he will grow up healthy.
I’ve always thought of Parma as a big city (7th largest in Ohio) with a small town feel. Our neighborhoods have a sense of community. When bad things happen, neighbors step up to help. Covid-19 has confirmed my belief that Parma is a good place to raise a family. On several Facebook pages I’ve noticed so many different individuals doing lots of good deeds. Like donating food, or cheering on those working so hard in the medical community. Many are just small gestures that mean so much to the recipient. Some are large donations of supplies to those that need them. I’ve heard of neighbors donating their stimulus money to food banks too, to help those that need it more now. All in all it warms my heart to see our community come together to help one another.
In the past five weeks nearly one million Ohioans have applied for unemployment as the state has grappled with life under quarantine. According to some estimates, Ohio’s jobless rate is 17% and, if that is true, that is higher than Ohio experienced at the depths of the Great Recession when Ohio’s unemployment rate peaked at 11.1% in January 2010. According to Ohio Jobs and Family Services, it has been receiving approximately 500,000 calls per day to address the unprecedented demand which has still not been sufficient to address the various delays and issues with obtaining unemployment funds.
While being confined to home the past several weeks except for an almost daily walk in the park and some visits to the grocery store, keeping proper social distancing, I have had plenty of time to read many columns and articles from different sources. One item that has become very clear during this coronavirus pandemic is that fact based, decisive and coordinated leadership from our government, especially our elected officials, is essential. This is not the time for boasting, campaigning or blaming others.