“To Steal a Mockingbird?”
by Mark Seal
pages 108 – 113; 132 – 136
It’s hard to admit it, but most books are disposable. A decade after publication, most have long since been relegated to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. But there are a few “evergreens” that retain their popularity in the long run. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird certainly fits that category.
Any Southerner who loves to read cannot escape Mockingbird. The novel has such renown that Oprah Wynfrey has called it “our national novel” and Lee received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. (While I like Mockingbird, I think that the story and characters are a little too simple, which detracts from its drama. I’m just sayin’…).
Sadly, Lee is now in failing health. Moreover, it has come to light that she signed over the Mockingbird copyright to her agent in 2007. This has led to the a colossal legal battle that has brought to light some of the shady corners of the publishing world. It is this fight that is at the center of the current Vanity Fair article. Bookworms will enjoy this article.
“Let the silly season of the elections begin”
by Steve Flowers
July 26, 2013
pages 4A & 5A
Steve Flowers, a four-term Alabama state senator, writes one of the best columns on events at the Alabama statehouse. This week’s column deals with the stark realities of Alabama’s state politics in 2014. Flowers tells us what we know, but seldom discuss – white Republicans control two-thirds of the seats in the Alabama legislature and will continue to do so in the near future. Black Democrats, meanwhile, increasingly control the Democratic seats in the legislature.
The column discusses the consequences of the GOP dominance. For one, the Alabama Education Association (the teachers union) has been de-fanged. Also, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard of Auburn now rules the Alabama House with an iron fist due to his control of PAC money that House Republicans need for their re-election efforts.
(I reviewed Hubbard’s book on the 2010 elections in a previous post – http://mobilemojoman.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/book-review-storming-the-state-house-by-mike-hubbard/).
As a political independent, it makes me nervous when either party gains such a large advantage that there is no effective opposition.
by George Ridder
The Mullet Wrapper
Issue – July 24 – August 7, 2013
Link – http://mulletwrapper.net/columnists-3/funny-bones/
Normally, I like to use this blog to ponder weighty, philosophical issues. But I came across this joke in the local Mullet Wrapper’s “Funny Bones” column -
“I think it is just terrible and disgusting how everyone has treated Lance Armstrong, especially after what he achieved, winning seven Tour de France races while on drugs. When I was on drugs, I couldn’t even find my bike.” – Willie Nelson
The rest of the column’s jokes are at the link listed above.
“Flora-Bama’s Worship At the Water celebrates 2nd anniversary”
by Fran Thompson
The Mullet Wrapper
Issue – July 10-24, 2013
The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package has been described as the world’s greatest honky-tonk. Straddling the Alabama-Florida line, it’s an enormous bar that hosts hundreds of events every year. It’s the sort of place one should visit at least once in a lifetime.
For the last couple of years, the Flora-Bama has been doing something entirely different – hosting weekly church services called “Worship at the Water.” Whatever your view of religion, Fran Thompson’s story from the local Mullet Wrapper is an interesting piece describing the Flora-Bama’s decidedly-different take on church.
The “main story” is at the link I have copied above. There is a second, shorter article on a baptism in the Gulf of Mexico at the link below -
“A Life or Death Situation”
by Robin Marantz Henig
The New York Times Magazine
July 21, 2013
pages – 26 through 33, 42, & 50
To me, the Sunday New York Times was a little disappointing this week. There just weren’t that many stories that “grabbed” me. But just before I went to bed Sunday night, I started reading “A Life of Death Situation” and it was such a strong story that I ended up going to bed late so that I could finish it.
The story concerns Margaret Pabst Battin a bioethicist @ the University of Utah who has always been an advocate of allowing dying patients to decide whether they wish to continue to treatments to prolong their lives. Her views have become more nuanced since her husband, Brooke Hopkins (a retired English professor @ Utah) had a cycling accident and became a quadriplegic. All of sudden, Battin was confronted with the differences in theory and practice.
This is story is well written and very moving. What I particularly like about it is that the author does not pretend that there are any easy answers to the end-of-life dilemma. Instead, the article raises countless questions; each reader will have to find the answers for him- or herself.
“Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt”
by Laurie Goodstein
The New York Times
July 21, 2013
pages A1 & A4
If you’re not a Mormon, it’s tempting to think that all Latter Day Saints march in lockstep. But in Sunday’s New York Times Laurie Goodstein reports that an increasing number of Mormons have begun to doubt the LDS Church’s version of Mormon history. Goodstein states that for years Mormon teaching have ignored the “warts” in their history such as -
- founder Joseph Smith’s allegedly finding the Book of Mormon while looking into a hat,
- Smith’s plural marriages, and
- the fact that the LDS’ Book of Abraham did not come from Abraham.
The Internet – and Mormons’ ability to research their faith on their own – is driving much of the discontent. Interestingly, Goodstein reports that many disaffected Mormons are those who formerly held leadership positions in the Church.
The link is here -
“Senator: Won’t apologize for racism remark”
by Charles J. Dean
July 19, 2013
While speaking in a Birmingham suburb Tuesday night, state Senator Vivian Davis Figures set off a controversy when an audience member asked her why the Republican Party has become so dominant in Alabama. Figures said that, at its root, the GOP’s dominance stems from racism. Alabama GOP Chairmen Bill Armistead quickly called for an apology, but Figures reiterated her statements.
For the Democratic Party in Alabama, this is all much ado about nothing. As the Register noted earlier this week, the Democrats have no candidates for governor in 2014 and few expect them to make it much of a race. The Democrats do have a couple of credible options – outgoing-U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and former-Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb. Figures’ comments will do nothing to bring back the disaffected white voters who left the Alabama Democrats in droves.
I hope that the Democrats mount a credible campaign. Voters in a democracy are supposed to have more than one choice.