Friday, December 8, 2017

Time for a Few Good Reads

Today’s a day for some interesting reads. 

Donald Trump made himself into a champion of the coal industry. But his proposed tax reform bill might have a devastating impact on the fossil fuel segment, according to a coal company executive who has been one of his biggest supporters: 

There is a romantic view we have of America before World War II. The 1930s was a time of Andy Hardy movies depicting idyllic life in small towns. Racism and anti-Semitism were never mentioned. Shirley Temple could dance up and down a grand staircase with Bojangles. The Marx Brothers were zany. 

Across the Atlantic, however, America was seen as a template for what turned out to be the greatest evil the world has seen. Hitler and his henchmen fashioned their repressive society on American laws:  

Just as neo-Nazis have resurrected the culture of oppression, the Ku Klux Klan has experienced its own reincarnation, twice in fact, as described by this book review:

As Republicans in Congress push federal legislation to allow concealed weapons to be carried legally across state lines, thereby undermining the state’s rights issue they have long championed, here’s a graphic that puts in context the carnage wrought by our inadequate gun control laws: 
Not every conservative shares the xenophobic attitudes of Trump and his ignorant supporters. Consider Bret Stephens. From a speech he recently delivered on “American Greatness,” here are some facts about immigration into the United States: 

“Did you know that immigrants account for 35 percent of all U.S. Nobel Prize winners? Did you know that 83 percent of the finalists in the 2016 Intel Science Talent search—widely known as the junior Nobel—are the children of immigrants? Did you know that 40 percent of all Fortune 500 companies—accounting for $4.8 trillion in revenues and 19 million employees—had founders who were immigrants or the children of immigrants? Did you know that immigrants start businesses at about twice the rate of other Americans? Did you know that without immigrants we would have had no population growth whatsoever since 1970, putting us on a path to a Japanese-style demographic death spiral?

“It is, of course, true that immigrants put strains on their host societies. It is also true that in any immigrant population there will be thieves, rapists, killers, scallywags and layabouts—though, by the way, did you also know that the incarceration rate of illegal immigrants is nearly half that of U.S. citizens?” (For a full read of his remarks, click

As the Supreme Court mulls whether a Colorado baker can withhold his services from a gay couple seeking a wedding cake, it might be illuminating to think about what our world would be like without the contributions of confirmed, not rumored, famous people who were or are gay, lesbian or bisexual, according to Wikipedia. Here’s a partial alphabetical list:,_lesbian_or_bisexual_people:_A

Hypocrisy in Action: My friend Arthur sent along a cartoon (which I can’t reproduce because of my limited tech capabilities). The illustration shows 10 Republican senators sitting at a conference table. The chairman says, “Before we discuss raising taxes on the poor & middle class, adding $1 trillion to the deficit, taking health insurance away from 13 million, raising premiums by 10%, defending treason and swearing in a pedophile, let’s begin with a prayer.”