It’s all yours.
Sequoia National Park — The Giant Forest
This is like the Area 51 of trees. I keep thinking what it would have taken to get up here before the roads and cars. It would take a week with pack horses to get up here. There is no hint down below that anything like this might exist up here. Such trees might have been the stuff of local legends. Tinfoil hat stuff. Who would believed you if you told them about the giant Sequoia?
On the drive up here I kept looking at the rock walls constructed along the road. Damned socialist make-work spending. (And I and wonder why we are not putting people to work doing this sort of thing when so many people need employment right now. The Blue Ridge Parkway has been an economic benefit to western North Carolina since the Depression.) Visitors from all over the world come to Sequoia national Park to see these trees, a national and world heritage. President Bill Clinton added the Sequoia National Monument Section in 2000.
But I suppose we must roll with the changes. Austerians tell us there is little money for national heritage. And none for world heritage. (Plenty for wars, though.) Besides, nobody knows who the dead presidents and generals are after whom some of these trees are named anyway.
Isn’t it time for corporate sponsorship (if not outright privatization) of our national heritage? So the General Sherman tree now will be the Goldman Sachs Tree. The General Grant Tree will be the Bank of America tree. And the McKinley Tree will be the Walmart Tree. Henceforth, all these giants will be named after large corporations and banks because these things are too big to fail.
Public-funded Elections — No
The Hospital Window
I have just come down from my father.
Higher and higher he lies
Above me in a blue light
Shed by a tinted window.
I drop through six white floors
And then step out onto pavement.
Still feeling my father ascend,
I start to cross the firm street,
My shoulder blades shining with all
The glass the huge building can raise.
Now I must turn round and face it,
And know his one pane from the others.
Each window possesses the sun
As though it burned there on a wick.
I wave, like a man catching fire.
All the deep-dyed windowpanes flash,
And, behind them, all the white rooms
They turn to the color of Heaven.
Ceremoniously, gravely, and weakly,
Dozens of pale hands are waving
Back, from inside their flames.
Yet one pure pane among these
Is the bright, erased blankness of nothing.
I know that my father is there,
In the shape of his death still living.
The traffic increases around me
Like a madness called down on my head.
The horns blast at me like shotguns,
And drivers lean out, driven crazy—
But now my propped-up father
Lifts his arm out of stillness at last.
The light from the window strikes me
And I turn as blue as a soul,
As the moment when I was born.
I am not afraid for my father—
Look! He is grinning; he is not
Afraid for my life, either,
As the wild engines stand at my knees
Shredding their gears and roaring,
And I hold each car in its place
For miles, inciting its horn
To blow down the walls of the world
That the dying may float without fear
In the bold blue gaze of my father.
Slowly I move to the sidewalk
With my pin-tingling hand half dead
At the end of my bloodless arm.
I carry it off in amazement,
High, still higher, still waving,
My recognized face fully mortal,
Yet not; not at all, in the pale,
Drained, otherworldly, stricken,
Created hue of stained glass.
I have just come down from my father.
Remember when Gov. Bev Perdue was the only one keeping North Carolina from turning into Wisconsin? Allow business to get control of all three branches of the federal government and the whole country will be Wisconsin, warns Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Let the tea party get control and we might turn into Virginia (via Rachel Maddow):
Meanwhile, Warren warns of corporate capture of the courts:
“Above all, we must make judicial nominations a priority. It’s time for a new generation of judges, judges whose life experience extends beyond big firms, federal prosecution, and white-collar defense,” she said in a speech before the American Constitution Society.
Warren, a former Harvard Law professor, also criticized the “increasingly brazen and ideological pro-corporate tilt” of the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit. “Follow this pro-business trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce.”
[h/t Susie Madrak]
N&O has a surprise twist in a “Ya ain’t from around here ya?” letter:
Out with ‘outsiders’
Rarely do I agree with Gov. Pat McCrory, but his recent statement blaming “outsiders” for disrupting North Carolina progress is spot on.
Thom Tillis from Jacksonville, Fla., Phil Berger from New Rochelle, N.Y., and McCrory from Columbus, Ohio, have done all they can to eliminate the progress North Carolina made with the help of natives Sam Ervin (Morganton), Terry Sanford (Laurinburg) and Hugh Shelton (Tarboro).
Let’s do what we can to rid ourselves of these disruptive outsiders.
Lynnie Sullivan, Holly Springs
NSFW from Lee Camp:
Among the standard-issue slurs hurled by the right is that liberals engage in social engineering. That is, liberals want o use government to impose an impractical, unrealistic and costly utopian vision of society on down-to earth, sensible conservatives.
But in North Carolina, it’s conservatives pursuing a libertarian utopia doing the engineering. And since libertarians couldn’t get North Carolina to vote for a government that would do it, they had to buy one. Enter Art Pope, Gov. Pat McCrory’s new budget director.
Pope is, for all intents and purposes, North Carolina’s third, lesser known, Koch brother. In fact, he’s attended the Koch Brothers’ planning summits and considers himself their close ally.
In 2010, Pope’s organizations spent $2.2 million on 22 state legislature races, and won 18 of them. In fact, outside groups backed by Pope accounted for 75 percent of independent spending in those races. In 2012, Pope and his affiliated groups again spent more than $2 million on the election, leading to a Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, and putting McCrory in the governor’s mansion.
If it feels as if you’re no longer in Kansas, maybe it’s because you’re in Art Pope’s North Carolina. Welcome to Oz. (Mind the flying monkeys.)
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry was in Raleigh, NC this week covering the largest Moral Monday protest to date against the GOP-led legislature’s radical rightward tilt. State NAACP president Reverend William Barber leads the protests that grew to well over 1,000 last week, with 150 arrests for civil disobedience.
Perry: We have a series of bills including voter I.D. requirements and doing away with same-day voter registration and a bill that would penalize parents of college students who vote where they attend school. A bill whose numerical name, SB666, is not lost on Reverend Barber.
Barber adds that North Carolina has joined the 15 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — a group Paul Krugman’s Friday column labeled “The Spite Club”:
Barber: In the first two weeks of the session, they denied 500,000 people Medicaid. Not 500,000 black people. Not 500,000 white people. 500,000 poor people and disabled children in a state that has 1.6 million poor people and 600,000 of them are children.