What I’m Reading, 4-22-18

By Penny Smith Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die. New York: Crown Books, 2018. This is a long review, but it’s an important book.  I started this book several weeks ago, when it first came out, and put it aside, because it was a tad too...

Local Environmental Issues Explored at Issues Roundtable

By Dan Perlmutter Thanks to all of you for attending last night’s [April 9, 2018] meeting. MY TWO CENTS WORTH – Here are some observations about what may be useful for the Jackson County Democratic Party going into the 2018 election cycle. Money for greening up...

This Week in the Blog 4-17-18

Reading Penny’s blog posts every week not only entertains me, it also educates me, gives me new ways to look at current events and reminds me to focus on what’s really important.  The entertainment often has to do with unexpected parallels, for example,...

BBAs and Republican Duplicity

By Penny Smith The Japanese have a penchant for stylized theatre. Kabuki is an ancient drama-dance form with predetermined plots, dress, and exaggerated facial make-up. Sumo wrestling is both a stylized performance and a life style. In a wrestling bout there is...

My Parents’ Republican Party

By Penny Smith Both of my parents were Republicans, first by heritage and then by choice. My mother’s family was from Iowa farm country, a Lincoln Republican stronghold. They valued personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, stoicism in the face of challenges, and...

What I’m Reading 4-15-18

By Penny Smith  Dan Cruickshank, Bridges: Heroic Designs that Changed the World. London: Collins, 2010.  I confess to being a book bargain bin diver. I rarely pass up an opportunity to cruise literal bargain bins in bookstores, mail order options like Daedalus Books,...

This Week in the Blog, 4-10-18

The blog posts for this week are captivating and educational.  If you’re looking for a (sort of) chuckle, check out My Goodness for a strangely poetic review of some favorite 45 quotes.  It reminds me of how he always accuses his opponents, his enemies, of his...

Deep State Dilemma

By Penny Smith Part I I generally subscribe to one mainstream conservative magazine for two reasons: (a) it lets me know what the opposition is thinking and (b) it puts me on mailing lists that bring to the house truly awful solicitations on behalf of the...

What I’m Reading, 4-9-18

By Penny Smith Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. New York, 2018.  Michael Isikiff and David Corn are long-time Washington DC reporters and frequent cable news analysts. Most...

My Goodness (An Abstract Poem By Our Dear Leader)

By Penny Smith Yes, he really did say these things.   I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, It’s literally going to cease to exist. (1990)   The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese In order to make United States...

This Week in the Blog, 4-1-18

I’m not sure what to recommend that you read first from this week’s three blog posts.  Should you start with a hearty laugh and end up with righteous anger or reverse that process for the sake of your blood pressure?  Okay, let’s got with the latter....

Tangled Threads or Who’s Really Paying for GOP Campaigns?

By Penny Smith I was originally going to write about the “Deep State” this week, but a casual glance at today’s news sent me in another direction. Like a previous entry on this site about the devious ways in which the GOP has decided to fund their candidates, this one...

Life Lessons: What We Can Learn from Squirrels

By Penny Smith Spring is about returning. The birds are back. Peepers are peeping. Daffodils, crocuses and tulips are mature. The smell of tilled earth is once again in the air, as is, unfortunately, the faint dust of pollen. Fruit trees appear in grocery store lots....

What I’m Reading, 4-1-18

By the Fooler on the Hill If you are currently omitted from the exposé, there is always next year. After all, there was limited space, but not unlimited stories. See the 2019 edition.  Jane Koenig, Communications Made Easy. San Francisco, 2018.  Koenig’s book is an...

This Week in the Blog 3-26-18

This week Penny offers opinions on the trend to diminish the requirements for liberal arts studies in universities (link) and the dangers to our country of segregation then and re-segregation now (link).  Both will get you thinking and may inspire you to continue...

Parallel Planes: Parallel Lives

By Penny Smith In geometry, a plane is a flat, two-dimensional surface. Parallel planes may extend forever, but they never intersect. So much of American history is made up of parallel planes. For example, I just finished reading Preston Lauterbach’s The Chitlin’...

What I’m Reading, 3-26-18

By Penny Smith Joe Bageant, Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. Melbourne, Australia: 2010.  I read Bageant’s Deer Hunting with Jesus recently (See “What I’m Reading” for February 11, 2018) and compared it to the currently popular Hillbilly Elegy. As luck would have it,...

On Ending the Liberal Arts in College

By Penny Smith Last week the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point announced that it was considering eliminating 13 humanities majors, including English and History. They would be replaced by “clear career pathways.” The announcement echoes an earlier attempt by...

This Week in the Blog 3-19-18

If you are craving some political commentary, check out Penny Smith’s What I’m Reading post for this week.  There are three summary reviews that will confirm your suspicions and put eloquent words to your outrage. Penny also continues her baseball theme...

LIFE LESSONS — MY FIRST CAR: PARENTS ARE SOMETIMES RIGHT

By Penny Smith In 1961 my father retired from the Air Force. With a friend he briefly considered opening a Par Three golf course in pre-Disney World Winter Park. However, like many men with his set of skills and experiences, he transitioned to the military arms...

John Jordan O’Neil: One of My Heroes

By Penny Smith Countdown: If it’s Monday, March 19, 2018, it’s ten days until opening day. Play ball!  I first encountered Buck O’Neil in a couple of baseball history books, but he became real to me in Ken Burns’ baseball series. O’Neil frequently comments on this,...

What I’m Reading, 3-19-18

By Penny Smith Jane Mayer, “The Man Behind the Dossier: How Christopher Steele Compiled His Secret Report on Trump’s ties with Russia,” The New Yorker (March 12, 2018): 48-65.  In many ways Jane Mayer is a national treasure. A staff writer for The New Yorker, she...

This Week in the Blog 3-12-18

There are another three wonderful reads in the Blog this week.  Penny has read another book by David Kay Johnston, The Making of Donald Trump, which peels back whatever facade is left on the president to reveal the real person.  However, the best reason to read this...

Arrogant Donald and the 2018 Election

By Penny Smith I’m on a David Cay Johnston kick at the moment, having read It’s Worse than You Think last week. I just finished The Making of Donald Trump this week. The book is a campaign anti-Trump biography, hoping to take The Great Pretender (TGP) down a couple of...

Forty-Two

By Penny Smith The laziest reader of Douglass Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy knows that “42” is the ultimate answer to the ultimate question. There was even a book published on the tenth anniversary of his death, 42: Douglas Adams’ Amazingly Accurate Answer...