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Hullabaloo


Saturday, December 31, 2016

 

Point of the spear

by Tom Sullivan


Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková will be visible to the naked eye this New Year's Eve. But it will likely be more prominent viewed through a telescope or binoculars. NASA reports that the comet will be sporting a blueish-green head and thin, fan-shaped tail. Whether that is a portent of calamity, 2017 will tell. NASA is not recommending human sacrifice just yet. And besides, haven't we had enough of that for one year?

Rather than yet another recap of what you already know and would rather not revisit, let me direct you to some end-of-year photos from the Obama White House. We're going to miss this family:


March 10, 2016
“What an honor to watch these girls grow up. Malia, foreground, and Sasha were both invited guests for the State Dinner in honor of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Mrs. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau. Following the actual sit-down dinner in the East Room, they made their way down the Great Hall to the State Dining Room for the musical entertainment.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Aug. 24, 2016
“President Obama watches a virtual reality film captured during his trip to Yosemite National Park earlier this summer as Personal Aide Ferial Govashiri continues working at her computer.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


March 20, 2016
“‘I love that picture,’ the President said to me when he saw this one hanging on the walls of the West Wing. Truth be told, he says that about every picture that features Malia or Sasha. The President and Malia were sharing a laugh as Malia interpreted in Spanish for a restauranteur in Havana, Cuba.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

We'll be replacing the Obamas with a family led by a man-child who doesn't laugh, as Chuck Todd recounts:

“[It] drives me crazy. Do you know what? I’ve never seen him laugh,” the “Meet the Press” host told me during an interview for POLITICO’s “Off Message” podcast earlier this month. “I challenge somebody to find him laughing, and that person has yet to find an example, in my opinion. He’ll smile, but he smiles appropriately. Watch him at the Al Smith dinner [the roast in New York City in October] ... He doesn’t really laugh. He looks for others to laugh. It is just weird.”

And there’s one other thing that Todd thinks is odd: After several of his Sunday appearances as a candidate, Trump would lean back in his chair and request that the control room replay his appearance on a monitor — sans sound.
Progressives and Democrats have got a fight ahead of them in 2017, no question. Here in North Carolina, Democrats may have retaken the governor's mansion, but that will have little effect on legislation. Republican legislators are so radicalized that, even as HB2 continues to damage the state's economy and with the whole world watching, Republican leaders in the senate failed to muster 10 votes among their 36 members to repeal it earlier this month. For now, at least, judges have temporarily blocked Republican-passed laws to remake the elections board and strip the incoming Democrat Roy Cooper of powers enjoyed by his predecessor, Gov. Pat McCrory.

But with Republicans holding super-majorities in both houses here, and in control of three branches of government nationally, Democrats are paid punching bags for the moment. Whether they can find the will and a way to punch back here or in Washington, D.C. remains to be seen.

In North Carolina, Rev. William Barber is the point of the spear. Maybe even for the country. Yesterday afternoon, Barber challenged president-elect Donald J. Trump using Trump's favorite medium:

It was a mini-sermon delivered unfiltered via Twitter, just the way Trump likes it. At least when he's the one doing the talking. Barber went straight at him:

Mr. Trump, we hope it is your desire to be successful. Success is measured by how we welcome the stranger, care for the sick, care for the poor, and care for the hungry in practice and in policy. In order to be successful in the eyesight of God, leaders must repent when they are wrong, and they must be committed to promote that which is rooted in justice and good will. As clergy dedicated to the care of souls, we know you can neither succeed in a way that pleases God nor fulfill the duties of your office unless you repent. All of us, even persons who hold powerful positions, are called to repent when we violate the deep principles of love, justice, and mercy towards all, especially the least of these.

Since your election, our communities have been fractured by harassment and intimidation. People of color and religious minorities are afraid. Poor working people who you appealed to in your campaign are disappointed that you have attacked their union leaders while appointing Wall Street elites who use them to your Cabinet.
Trump may have run up against an immovable object. For all our sakes, let's hope so. Here's Barber's speech from the DNC convention last summer if you need a little end-of-year pep talk:










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