Noshes and Nourishment: Random Thoughts and Ideas
Happy Birthday Mom
Today (March 1) is my mother’s birthday, a day that I celebrate with deep thankfulness. Mom, known as Duzie to her close friends, was a woman of quiet strength. Her love for her husband and two sons knew no bounds, a fact that all three of us often probed, tested and challenged with our moods and our antics.
Despite decades of painful struggles with multiple osteopetrosis-related compression fractures and two hip replacements, she was always there to intervene and console as our peacemaker when her “three guys” did battle with one another.
She lifted me up when I was down, celebrated with me when I had a success, challenged me when I was lagging and supported me when I embarked on what other people (including my father) thought were foolish excursions. In short, she was always there with love, wisdom and a steady hand. Mom died in 2009, but she lives in my mind and my heart to this day, and I am grateful.
We Are Running Out of Time
The clock is ticking, and I am exhausted by the energy-defusing level of discord in America. The planet is getting warmer and fast reaching a point at which the world will be permanently altered. Seas are rising, draughts spreading and fires combining with industry to consume the globe’s forests. We are living in the toxic mix of a murderous pandemic, climate disasters, supply-chain interruptions, school and business closings, frustrated people, and conspiracy theories constructed out of lies and malice. Add to all of this a big power’s invasion of a small county that has the potential of becoming a major war.
I am proud that my nation’s president has successfully rallied the free world in response to Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine. But I am embarrassed by the words and actions spewing out of the Republican blast furnace of misinformation and self-serving hyperbole. They are so intent on their quest for power that they will disparage any words or actions that come out of the White House or from the Democrat side of the Congressional aisles. Some Republicans in both the House and the Senate are unrelenting in their criticism, even if it means siding with the vicious dictator of Russia. They and their callous talking heads in the conservative media hold up Vladimir Putin’s willingness (or, maybe his eagerness?) to slaughter an entire nation of people as an example of leadership strength.
Domestically, Republicans vote against programs designed to support families and help local communities, but then claim credit when federal money from Biden-enacted initiatives reach their states and districts. They relentlessly embrace subterfuge, conspiracies and misinformation to scuttle proposed legislation designed to benefit the American people and rebuild the nation’s economy. Why? Because Republicans would rather see middle and lower-income people continue to live on painfully thin margins so that they can point their fingers at Biden and say, “See, he is a failure.”
Russia’s Attack on Decency and Peace
When I sat down to write this week’s post my intention was to focus on Ukraine, Russia, the United States and our allies. But I quickly realized that my opinions on the subject were more gut-level and not based on first-hand experience or thorough study. I concluded that I could not do justice to the subjects. So instead, I’ll introduce you to two people whose life experiences make them superb commentators on the atrocity taking place in Ukraine: Mort Rosenblum and Bill Clontz.
Mort is a fellow University of Arizona graduate, but while he was honing a reporting and writing skill that earned him eight Pulitzer Prize nominations, I was The Daily Wildcat sports editor––and, my interests in those days did not go much deeper than sports. Mort’s reporting career took him around the world. He covered stories in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and has family ties to Ukraine. He also served as editor of the International Herald Tribune. Click here to see his blog post about the war.
Bill is a friend, neighbor and co-collaborator. He retired from the United States Army after a 30-year career, during which he saw combat as a member of the Special Forces. His extensive and balanced experiences include serving as a National Security Fellow at the Brookings Institute, and as military advisor to Madeline Albright during her time as Ambassador to The United Nations. You can read Bill’s views about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by clicking here.
A Theory of Justice
During my graduate school days at what is now the Andrew Young of School of Policy, I read dozens of books and articles. The one book that has stayed with me as both a physical presence in my personal library and as a continued inspiration is John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, published in 1971. The book is a combination of political science, economics and philosophy. In it Rawls presents a moral theory of distributive justice (the socially-just distribution of goods in a society). It is long––nearly 600 pages–– and dense but well worth the effort.
Bill Jamieson’s career has included leadership positions in business, government, and education. He was also an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and his ministry centered around advocacy for low-income families and children.