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The real reason for the child surge over our border

July 19th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

A letter to the editor is the smartest thing in today’s NYT.  The “crisis” of Central American children being sent over the border is caused by our ludicrous war on drugs.

I quote:

To the Editor:

The Children of the Drug Wars,” by Sonia Nazario (Sunday Review, July 13), illustrates convincingly the principle of unintended consequences.

The heart-wrenching choices that mothers in Central America must make to satisfy the human and maternal drive to protect one’s children is not a choice that most of us are familiar with from personal experience.

Ms. Nazario’s analysis is that the drug gangs — allowed to dominate because of a politically complicit and moribund Honduran government — are the root cause of this exodus of children. But it is drug illegality in this country that creates the environment for drug gangs to thrive on both sides of our border. This exodus of children is an unintended consequence of our drug laws.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story

All drugs should immediately be legalized. There is a tragic irony that we make drugs illegal and simultaneously are prepared to make frightened children criminals. Change one and the other will change. Without coming to this reality, our mad public policy on this issue will doom the entire region.

FRED McKINNEY
Bridgeport, Conn., July 14, 2014

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The ’60s never ends for the boomer right

July 16th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

What is it with these boomer conservatives turning 40-year-old campus slights in major political philosophies?

In the National Review, Adam Bellow recalls the searing experience of being chewed out by a radical feminist lo those many years ago. Field of battle: a writing workshop

HIPPIES UNDER THE BED

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Another jazz master moves on. Where goest the ‘art form’?

July 10th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

Horace Silver had personally chosen St. Augustine Episcopal Church on the Lower East Side to be the site of his memorial service.  It reminded him of the churches back home in Connecticut.  I attended on a beautiful, balmy Manhattan night with an older friend who knew Silver from high school.

The son of an immigrant from Portuguese-speaking Cape Verde (the name was changed from Silva to Silver), Horace became a world famous jazz pianist and composer, helping lead the hard bop movement. An inner directed man, Silver was devoted to family and never worried about following any music fashions.

And that’s why he died at 85 of natural causes.

St. Augustine Church

Although most Americans don’t know Horace Silver’s name, every serious jazz fan does. Which makes for concern about the future of jazz in the country of its birth and flowering. The audiences for jazz are growing smaller and older.

Silver’s most recognized riff lives on in Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.”

WHERE GOES JAZZ AS THE GREATS MOVE ON?

@FromaHarrop

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Are you the only passenger without priority boarding?

July 9th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

The Dream

The Reality

The most valuable real estate in transportation today is the overhead bin on an airplane.

And that’s why passengers without priority boarding status more often than not find themselves wedging into seats under bins stuffed with someone else’s worldly possessions.

Not surprisingly, the masses are clamoring for priority boarding privileges. As airlines devise new layers of flying “elites,” priority boarding has itself become a class system.

And that’s why you may know the feeling:

EVERYONE MAY NOW BOARD, EXCEPT YOU

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Verdict on Macy’s 4th of July fireworks: Unsatisfying

July 7th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

Macy’s drew many thousands to New York’s East River for a fireworks display promised to be spectaculous.

We who arrived late — meaning an hour before the scheduled launch — never got near the river.  We saw occasional flashes between buildings as pictured below:

A non-spectaculous view

Nearby, others were apparently spending the time more profitably.

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Americans in World War I

July 4th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

A patriotic account in the NYT of Americans’ decisive role in the Second Battle of the Marne, When Americans Turned the Tide, brought tears to my eyes.

Meanwhile, the video of the role played by new weapons technology, such as machine guns and poison gas, makes one fear for the future.

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Do the Supreme Court justices know what an emoticon is?

July 3rd, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

Is suggesting a Halloween costume featuring an estranged wife’s “head on a stick” a threat if it’s made in a phone call but not if it’s encased in rap lyrics posted on Facebook?

That’s a puzzlement, one the Supreme Court will take up in the fall.

Anthony Elonis spent 44 months in jail for listing that and other gory things he’d like see happen to his wife on Facebook.

A sampling:

I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts. Hurry up and die, bitch, so I can bust this nut all over your corpse from atop your shallow grave.

I spoke with Elonis’ lawyer, UVA law prof John Elwood, about why he thinks the lower court ruling was unfair to Elonis. Elwood believes that it’s harder to identify a real threat on social media because certain cues are missing. You can’t hear the person’s voice or see his body language. Crowds of strangers read these words  without knowing the person, and thus they are unable to guess whether he’s “the type.”

Many threat prosecutions these days stem from things written online.

Elwood notes that Elonis put an emoticon with a tongue out after the head-on-a-stick reference. That would indicate that the rapper was only kidding. Right?

Pertinent question: Do the nine justices know what an emoticon is?

I discuss the issues at greater length — minus the nut-busting part — in

IS THE MEDIUM THE MENACE?

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Libs should keep their money and run

July 2nd, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

If you think about it, it is a bit strange that blue state progressives would hail the runoff primary victory of Thad Cochran over tea party challenger Chris McDaniel.

Of course, liberals dislike the nasty aesthetics clouding much of the tea party worldview. But for whatever reason, the tea party wants to cut spending and taxes.  Since the blue states pay most of the taxes, why don’t they agree to pocket the savings and spend it on things they want?  Like decent commuter rail.

Mississippi receives $3 in federal spending for every $1 sent to Washington. If blue state liberals like Cochran’s support for black colleges and food stamps, then fine, they can pay for them as a kind of internal foreign aid.  Remember, it’s their money.

In the meantime, they wouldn’t have to pay billions in subsidies to rich Mississippi farmers.

Think about it, blue America.

WAS COCHRAN’S WIN GOOD FOR BLUE AMERICA?

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Hobby Lobby’s China hypocrisy

July 2nd, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

Odd that Hobby Lobby ’s owners object on religious grounds to including contraception in its employee health coverage but have no objections to filling its stores with goods from China, land of the forced abortion.  Some Christian voices, to their credit, have underscored the hypocrisy.

We can guess what the agenda is here.  Cheap stuff from China is about making money.  Refusing to include birth control in health plans is about working over women.

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Hobby Lobby’s owners may be gratifying to foes of Obamacare.  Republicans celebrating the decision, however, should worry how women in Colorado and other swing states are going to feel about this.

Not many  women, Republicans included, regard birth control as some frill. Women and sex: That’s what this is about.

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Nature all around us . . .

June 30th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

. . .including on a roof in the concrete heart of Manhattan.

How the bees find these flowers I’ll never know, but they do.

Froma Harrop

A toast to nature

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