Can We Hear the Drums Still?
November 22, 2013

Fifty years ago today…

Most everybody who was alive then in America is thinking, speaking, or writing those words.

November 22, 1963. I was in the Hyannis office of the Cape Cod Standard Times when the UPI teletype rang an alert and the first flash clattered onto the paper roll at 1:34 in the afternoon. And then the next. And the final one.

DALLAS, NOV. 22 (UPI) – THREE SHOTS WERE FIRED AT PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S MOTORCADE TODAY IN DOWNTOWN DALLAS.  JT1234PCS

FlASH      KENNEDY SERIOUSLY WOUNDED    PERHAPS SERIOUSLY   PERHAPS FATALLY BY ASSASSINS BULLET  JT 1239 PCS

FLASH PRESIDENT KENNEDY DEAD   JT135PCS

I spent the afternoon writing an obit for John F. Kennedy, updating the material in our files, pulling it all together.

I spent that weekend in Rhode Island, with Charlene, my love at the time. We watched the news and the funeral procession until we had to get out of the house and into the sunlight and fresh air where we could not hear the sound of drums.

Fifty years ago today…

I believe we would be living in a better world today had Oswald not pulled the trigger. We would be a better country, a better people. Instead we live now in a country run by the worst natures of our politics. It’s as if Kennedy’s spilled blood spread the poison of Oswald’s bitterness and hatred into the rivers of American history, until today the drums are louder, transformed from the solemn sound of grief and respect into bone rattling thunders of hatred and fear pounding into every village and town and city.

We have chosen to be a lesser people than we might have been.

Fifty years ago today…

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At Long Last The FDA Might Get To Regulate A Drug – If The Republicans Let Them
August 2, 2007

The Food and Drug Administration, which, according to unconfirmed rumors, regulates medical drugs and other ingestibles in the United States, may actually get to regulate tobacco products.

According to a story in the Globe today by Diedtra Henderson the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee endorsed a bill to give the FDA broad authority over tobacco products. The vote was 13 – 8.

I’m guessing the 8 were Republicans.

The legislation…languished during Republican-majority rule of the US House and Senate, unable to get time on a committee calendar and thwarted when passed from the floor.

What’s at stake here?

  • Ending tobacco ads aimed at children
  • Blocking the sale of candy-flavored cigarettes to children
  • Putting a dent in the 20% of American deaths annually caused by tobacco use – that’s 440,000 people every year
  • Reducing the $167 billion annual healthcare cost of tobacco use

Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina tried, unsuccessfully, to bury the bill in amendments, and will try to stall the bill when it hits the Senate floor.

(Burr) also chastised the excise tax increase as a mechanism to fund children’s healthcare and expand FDA staffing sufficiently to regulate tobacco.

“The honey pot right now is tobacco excise taxes. The fact is, they’ll find – if they implement those – that there will be a reduction in tobacco usage,” Burr said in a recent interview. He said the move would imperil state budgets that rely on tobacco taxes to ease shortfalls.

Republican values:

  • Children’s healthcare is wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • Regulating a product that kills nearly half a million people a year is wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • Government should pay for itself by taxing a product that costs $167 billion a year in healthcare.

Two core Republican values therefore are:

  1. Killing people
  2. Profiting financially from killing people

And the fundamental Republican value is, of course, say it with me now – Money is the root of all Republican values.