Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Schoolhouse Gate and Substantial Disruption in Marana

On December 23, 2016, the Arizona Daily Star featured a large photograph of boisterous teenagers displaying a Confederate Battle Flag while standing on the bed of a pickup truck. The Battle Flag was one of several displayed by Southern States during the Civil War. The students displayed the flag across the street from Marana High School to protest the school’s decision to ban the flag on campus and because, “it represents pride in their Southern heritage and the ban oppresses their right to free speech,” according to the Star. When knuckleheads bleat about their right to “free speech,” they do not become patriots. They remain knuckleheads. Fortunately, seventeen year-old knuckleheads have undeveloped brains, so eight more years of cranial development may eventually cure them of their knuckle headedness.

Marana authorities were right to prohibit the display of the Confederate Battle Flag on school grounds. Despite the protesters’ suggestion that the prohibition was viewpoint discrimination, that is the not the case. Whether one believes the flag is a harmless expression of “Southern heritage” or a symbol of violence and oppression, neither interpretation has anything to do with the ban.

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‘Twas the Drink before Christmas

(A Liberal’s Lament. With Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the drink before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was sober, including the mouse;

When ballots were cast by the voters with care,

The poor folks elected a crass billionaire;

As Midwestern voters lay snug in their bed

American Democrats wished they were dead;

And Mama in her stupor and me in my cups,

The world has gone crazy and now downs are ups,

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Badgering the Gerrymander

“Badger” is a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to an animal found in most of North America. As a verb, it means to harass, pester, or nag. It is also the Wisconsin state mammal. On November 21, 2016, a federal court in Wisconsin sought to badger the legal system into addressing partisan gerrymandering. Will it work?

The case, Whitford v. Gill, was brought by Democrats but the issue isn’t partisan because either party may be victimized by gerrymandering. The “ox” being gored could be a donkey or an elephant. Gerrymandering can elevate a political minority over a majority. Democratic candidates for the U. S. House of Representatives in 2012 cumulatively won nearly one and half million more votes than Republicans. Yet, Democrats were a minority in the new Congress.

In 2010, Republicans gained control of both houses of the Wisconsin legislature and the Governorship, were free to adopt a redistricting map without Democratic input and passed Act 43 in 2011. Republicans gained seats in the 2012 and 2014 elections. The Whitford Court noted: “Act 43 … achieved the intended effect: it secured for Republicans a lasting Assembly majority. It did so by allocating votes among the newly created districts in such a way that, in any likely electoral scenario, the number of Republican seats would not drop below 50%.”

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The Whiffenpoof Song

by Mike Tully

The choir assembled when Hell stormed the Lord’s Day on December 7th, 1941.  It reconvenes every annual remembrance of that first gathering.  Every year the choir grows.  Those who join these days are gray, bent, proud and too frequently forgotten.  But their voices, when mingled with those more ancient, reach the stars.  We raise our glasses to the ones who didn’t make it through on this day, and they silently return our toast.  Silently, that is, but for the echoes of an anthem of the Greatest Generation.

From the tables down at Mory’s, to the place where Louie dwells,
To the dear old Temple bar we love so well.

I hear it on this day, that strange echoing Kipling parody that Dad would break into three Cuba Libres after sunset.  The song had the same resonance as his war stories, his matter of fact admission that caves were sealed on his orders, trapping Japanese combatants in a grave of dwindling oxygen.  Dad said he never pointed a weapon and killed during the war.  He merely gave orders and men died.  The only weapon he brought home was a sword taken from the battlefield that hangs in our library.  He never brought firearms home.  My Dad, who hunted with weapons for sustenance in his childhood and carried weapons in the Pacific Theater, would not have them in the house.

Sang the whiffenpoofs assembled with their glasses raised on high
And the magic of their singing casts its spell.

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