Category Archives: Current Affairs

For MLK Day: Stories from Selma, January 16

Two Nights & a Lifetime with Dr. King

Next Monday will be devoted to the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It was my good fortune to work under Dr. King in the great voting rights campaign he led with others in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Besides being historic for America, that experience was formative for me. It led me to jail, to a repudiation of war, and even to Quakers.

Monday evening at Pendle Hill, starting at 7:30 PM, as part of this remembrance, I’ll be talking about that experience, and you’re invited. Details are here, and it’s free.

In December 1964, I joined the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Atlanta. Shortly thereafter I was sent by SCLC to Selma, Alabama, where I worked in the Voting Rights Movement organized by Dr. King and SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Continue reading For MLK Day: Stories from Selma, January 16

Push & Pushback in the Northwest “Showdown”

Northwest Yearly Meeting is notorious for its institutional culture of secrecy; indeed, I think they could teach the CIA some tricks.

So imagine my surprise when a clandestine collective which can be  called “Quaki-Leaks” passed along some emails hacked from the listserve for NWYM pastors. There were other posts,but these offer an illuminating glimpse of what goes on behind one of the numerous veils that shroud much (too much, in my view) of NWYM’s proceedings.  It is a useful followup to yesterday’s post regarding the ‘Way Forward” ultimatum letter.

The posts dealt with the impending midyear sessions that begin this weekend, and the hot issue of what to do about LGBT-friendly meetings. The samples presented here offer three distinct views of the situation, with some qualifying comments by the NWYM Superintendent. We’ll finish with some brief comments of our own. Continue reading Push & Pushback in the Northwest “Showdown”

Deep State vs. Dupe State: Round One

Thinking over the Friday “revelations” about how the big intel agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA) are agreed that Russia hacked the election to favor the President-elect (Or P-E), I’m recalling that African proverb about how when  elephants fight, it’s the grass & the mice that get trampled.

And I’m taking a mouse-eyed view of what just happened.
Here’s how I think it looks from there: those with eyes to see witnessed an opening round in what could be a death struggle between the Deep State and the Dupe State.


“Deep State” is a term borrowed from Turkish politics. It was applied to the American body politic by Mike Lofgren, a longtime congressional staffer, in his book, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government. (A good summary is here. )

Continue reading Deep State vs. Dupe State: Round One

My Dark Reflection: Guest Post by Judith Dancy

Judith Dancy from Facebook:
It may have happened while Emma was sleeping so soundly last night, for surely she would have sounded the alarm as the Abyss, with its tank loaded with the fuel of Despair crept through the crack under the front door… the one I keep meaning to put another rubber strip on to keep out the cold wind. I’ve been meaning to do that for years, and now I wish it were only cold wind that crept through.

It’s not that it’s a gray and rainy day. It’s not the death of another precious friend. It’s not the pain that seems unwilling to leave. It’s a sensation I don’t remember ever experiencing ,even in the midst of long periods of deep depression.

I want to apologize, I think, for not recognizing the death of hope. Here I’ve been reassuring you that this is just a birthing process and that something beautiful will be born…not soon enough for some of us, but good will come of what seems like no-good. I’m pretty sure that is not true.

Continue reading My Dark Reflection: Guest Post by Judith Dancy

Another Story for an Era’s End: “I Hate Dill Pickles”

Spring 2007; or maybe tomorrow

Sara Rahman was my best friend then. “BFFs, Amber,” she often said to me.  And some of the best times we had were while walking home from school. We joked and laughed about everything – stuff in school, books she was reading, her dorky big brother Ahmed, even some of the sillier songs from “American Idol.”

 Maybe we were having too much fun. Maybe we shouldn’t have gone running up to the ice cream truck that came jangling by and pulled over to the curb.

But it was a warm spring Thursday, and Sara had five dollars in her pocket, a pre-birthday present from her aunt, and she loved ice cream.

“Especially butter pecan,” she said. “That’s my very favorite.”

 So we did stop at the ice cream truck. No butter pecan, but they did have big cones of cookies and cream, so Sara got one of those, and bought me an Eskimo pie. Continue reading Another Story for an Era’s End: “I Hate Dill Pickles”

HB2 Fallout: $42K Taxpayers Money Produces $Millions in Bad PR

The news articles and media commentary sampled here are part of the  ongoing international fallout from the NC Legislature’s legislative fiasco of December 21. That was when, after announcing a deal with the Charlotte City Council to repeal the notorious Bathroom Bill, the GOP-dominated chamber double-crossed Charlotte and let the law stand.

Continue reading HB2 Fallout: $42K Taxpayers Money Produces $Millions in Bad PR

Why My Knees Were Knocking That Morning

First a word about my knees. They’ve been good to me for a long time, and I’m grateful. But last summer I strained the right one, trying to do The Twist. I don’t know what went wrong; the last time I did it, my knee was fine. Well yes, that was in 1962; picky picky.

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I finally went to a physical therapist, who gave me some stretching exercises to do. I did them just before the election, and afterward, voila! –both knees hurt. A miracle of modern medicine. Continue reading Why My Knees Were Knocking That Morning

Vote Suppression for Lunch: North Carolina, Part Two

Another part of the Republican vote suppression scheme is aimed right at my old home turf, Cumberland County, a heavily nonwhite area which includes Fayetteville & Fort Bragg. And part of the plan is probably going to work. And this is important.

To see why,  a bit of background: in 2004, George W. Bush beat John Kerry in the county by 3351 votes, which was decently close considering Bush carried the state by 435000 votes.

But then in 2008, the Cumberland County Democrats, led by my esteemed and astute friend Roberta Waddle, organized the heck out of the place and totally turned the tables: Obama carried the county by 22000 votes over John McCain.

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This was an amazing feat; and it’s the more astonishing considering that Obama won North Carolina — but by only 14000 votes out of 4,271,000 statewide. Continue reading Vote Suppression for Lunch: North Carolina, Part Two