It’s Friday November 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1895, German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen became the first person to observe X-rays. X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act like light rays, but at wavelengths almost 1,000 times shorter. Upon their discovery, X-rays allowed doctors to see inside the human body for the first time without surgery. We here at Upside Downtrodden feel a special kinship with X-rays. We, too, possess the ability to see through humans. Read more
The UN General Assembly meetings this week offer President Obama a chance to capitalize on recent diplomatic developments with Syria and to extend a hand to new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the hopes of launching renewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. In an op-ed in the Washington Post last week, Rouhani urged other leaders “to respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue.” It is critical for Obama to show that his administration is willing to answer Iranian concessions with some relief of sanctions that Rouhani can bring to the Iranian people.
Iran is Ready for Talks
A prominent adviser to the Iranian leadership, Amir Mohebbian, explains that Iran’s leaders see the next six months represent the best opportunity to reach an agreement, before campaigning for parliamentary elections begins in March. This is a window the US cannot afford to miss. It is time for the US to offer a reasonable deal that would signal to the Iranian people that the West is willing to work towards a larger agreement. Read more
The subject of Father Scott's homily on Sunday was "tunnel vision," something our local parish priest knows a lot about since it was not until he was in his twenties and well out of high school that Father Scott finally got his driver's license. "Tunnel vision," said the state trooper who flunked him. "Stop focusing on the straight lines in front of you and see everything around you."
But it wasn't to whine about being the only kid in his senior class who still rode a bike to school that Father Scott brought up the subject of "tunnel vision." Instead, it was as a prod to urge the rest of us to stop fixating on the bright lines defining our own narrow prejudices, or tribes, or self-imposed prisons so that we might see the larger world around us.
That is because, as Father Scott explained, "God colors outside the lines."
Mine is a parish, as I have mentioned before, that lies on the outskirts (and mostly under the radar screen) of the larger Boston Archdiocese. It's a town that is predominantly Jewish but which has a protestant church on three of the town square's four corners and also a mosque all our own. Read more
Instead of stalling senseless sequester slashing, the GOP prefers to prove a point by sinking a ship instead of saving it -- but it's their Party's that's submerging slowly.
The 75 Republicans who speak for repealing DOMA are former players, out of step and out of power, dreaming of a moderate GOP future, but stuck in a moderate GOP past.
A former Senator nearly gets blocked from becoming Secretary of Defense because he had the good sense to get out, while he left the senseless back on the Hill.
They say rats flee a sinking ship, but this time everyone else has fled the Party and the rats in the GOP are doing the sinking.
After the haggle and Hagel, you need a huggle, so embrace an evening of engaging imbibing at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
The tragedy in Sandy Hook has brought the national conversation to gun violence, which inevitably leads to the seemingly insurmountable differences between those who advocate for gun control laws and those who vow that the only way to get their guns from them is to “pry them from their cold, dead hands.” The facts that the only cold dead hands increasingly seem to belong to those of the innocent, unarmed variety only serves to cement their case: the answer, according to Wayne LaPierre, is to arm more good guys with weaponry in order to combat the bad guys with weaponry. That this makes sense to anyone who isn’t a comic book writer illustrates the huge disconnect we feel with society, and each other.
Sensible arguments about passing legislation to restrict high capacity magazines are met with staunch opposition from many on the far right. The argument goes back to the wording and the intent of the second amendment.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Read more
It’s Sunday November 18th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1978, Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones led hundreds of his followers in a mass murder-suicide in the South American country of Guyana. Now, we might be paraphrasing just a bit, but we’re pretty sure there’s a passage in the Bible that reads, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man…especially one that is instructing you to inject your child with cyanide-laced grape-flavored Flavor Aid soft drink.”
Like crows, maybe that’s why we call a flock of believers a murder. Because all too often (e.g. most wars, witch-hunts, ethnic cleansings, honor killings, human sacrifices, suicide bombings, indigenous peoples annihilation, The Crusades, The Inquisition, The Thirty Years’ War, The Holocaust, Islamic Jihad, 9/11 and The Norwegian Massacre - just to name a few examples), that’s exactly what believers do. We hear it all the time. The people who commit heinous crimes like the ones you’ve mentioned aren’t true believers. They’re false believers. Their perverted versions of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, (insert any religion here) aren’t real religions. They’re cults. Read more
Mitt Romney has step in a giant mess (47% of the country is upset….hahahaha!) and right now he seems to not have a good plan to get out of the mess he created. So the strategy for Mr. Romney is pretty clear. Try to change the subject as fast as you can. For Obama, I think the strategy is pretty clear as well. FINISH HIM!
I’d never seen Lilly Ledbetter, the woman for whom the Fair Pay Act was named; but on Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to watch her on TV, speaking at the Democratic Convention. My first thought was, “Oh, she’s just like me.” The first piece of legislation Pres. Obama signed after he was sworn in was for me, and every woman and girl in this country. Ladies first, he showed us, ladies first.
Women are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. At our local headquarters, I see it. On the street, when I bump into volunteers registering people to vote, I see it. When I meet with directors and organizers in the campaign, I see it. In the Democratic Party, women have a voice….we are heard. Pres. Obama, as leader of our party as well as our nation, hears us.
It was fitting the first night of the Convention focused like a laser on qualities every decent woman knows well: love, contribution, respect, and family first. Read more
I realize the Christian Right is having a tizzy over same-sex marriage. But then I really don’t care. All my life I’ve watched heterosexuals fall in love and get married and then fall out of love and into divorce, and believe me; I’m not impressed. So if someone who thinks they know God can come along and tell me that we gays can’t do that – fall in love and get married, I’m not listening.
Now I’m not saying gay people will do any better than heterosexuals at marriage but one thing I do know; gay people won’t be getting married because one of them got pregnant. Surely there might be some exceptions to the rule; we gays are a mixed bunch. Read more
Republicans in Congress seem bent on ignoring the obvious and they continue to support more oil production along with reducing regulation on pollution controls for large chemical companies. Instead of accepting that our planet has been negatively affected by human activity and then finding ways to lessen the impact humans have on this Earth, they play up to the very hands that line their pockets during campaign season. Read more
It’s Saturday July 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1990, Maximo Menendez fell into a coma immediately after drinking a Colombian soft drink containing large amounts of liquid cocaine. Shortly thereafter, he died. We thought the old slogan was, “Have a Coke and smile,” not, “Have a Coke with actual coke and die.” The brand of soft drink Maximo consumed was Pony Malta. It could have been worse. It could have been called White Horse. One thing is for sure. Even though we wouldn’t recommend you make a “king’s habit” out of sharing “snowcones” with “Aunt Nora”, it’s still probably safer than drinking soft drinks. Read more
We have economist who are still trying to figure out what happened that caused the Great Recession. Where did America’s wealth go? How did we end up with millions of people losing their jobs, their savings accounts, their homes over something the largest banks did wrong? How could they put us in this predicament – the guys we put so much trust in to take care of America’s financial needs? Read more
by Kim Krisberg
Hunger in America can be hard to see. It doesn’t look like the image of hunger we usually see on our TVs: the wrenching impoverishment and emaciation. Talking about American hunger is hard because, well, there’s food all around us. Everywhere you look, there’s food — people eating food, people selling food, people advertising food, people wasting food, people dying of eating too much food. The obesity epidemic alone is getting so big that it’s slowly swallowing the health care system in billions of dollars of care.
We have a food problem. Read more
A goal for most parents is to see their children grow up and get a good education, one that will provide a decent lifestyle for them and their families. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening for an average family has slowly deteriorated over time – the cost of education has gone up along with everything else.
Student loans can hamper someone’s future for a long time and for many of those who don’t come from wealth, a student loan is the only method they have of going to college and getting a decent education. Unlike other loans, student loans cannot be written off through bankruptcy proceedings. Read more
Francesco at the marriage of his grand daughter - circa 1950
Francesco needed a wife.
He was a widower. He was sitting in the place in Southern Italy where his family had lived for generations with three children who no longer had a mother. His wife Antonia was dead.
He was also determined to go to America. He knew he had no future here. Neither did his children.
He had grown up poor in a town (you have to guess which one) where absentee landlords owned everything and everyone else owned nothing. He had no education and could barely read or write Italian. The town was run by the landlords, the "prominenti" (those relatively well off), the priests and the camorra - the black hand. Read more