“I don't think we need to extend unemployment any further without paying for it, and without making some modifications such as turning it into a loan at some point. It then encourages people to go back to work." - Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
Should everyone collecting welfare be excluded from voting until they are gainfully employed? This questions has been posed more and more over the years, with the question actually being posited on political websites. Some will take umbrage at this point, and proclaim, “This is still the United States of America! but the kindest thing you could do for those folks is to buy them a subscription to The Nation, Ins These Times, Mother Jones or any of a number of journals not cowed by corporate/Tea Party interests.
The welfare/voting question has been kicking around for quite a while now, but now some folks seem to be looking askance at those accepting any sort of government assistance.
The same folks who have sold their souls to get the top two percent of wage earners a tax break are taking every opportunity they can to bash the most vulnerable among us. In this case, it is the ever-rising numbers of the unemployed. And, of course, it wasn’t hard to notice that while the rich got their tax breaks for two years, the unemployed got their benefits extended for one year and one month.
Yeah, some tough negotiators over there at the White House.
From Jim DeMint’s callous remarks (and he is not alone in his belief) to Newt Gingrich talking about unemployment being nothing more than paying people for doing nothing, is just more evidence that America’s workers are in the scopes of the new Congress and their corporate masters. There is a lot of serious damage that can be done to the American people in the next two years.
And every time someone dares complain, the mouthpieces at Fox and other conservative outlets will whine about “class warfare.” Lazy reporters will let them get away with it, without checking to see if there is any merit to the complaints of the American worker or the few remaining Democrats who aren't "centrists."
It’s time to organize and fight back. Even if it’s only something simple like writing letters to the newspaper or a member of Congress, it’s time to remind folks that there are no innocent bystanders in a war like this.
Then again, it is the holiday season, and we should do these folks a favor, and ask, so they don’t have to:
Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
Quote of the Day
The media, far from being a conspiracy to dull the political sense of the people, could be viewed as a conspiracy to disguise the extent of political indifference. - David Riesman
The Hound of the Baskervilles - oh, you know somebody who needs a copy of this for Christmas!
As if in answer to his words there rose suddenly out of the vast gloom of the moor that strange cry which I had already heard upon the borders of the great Grimpen Mire. It came with the wind through the silence of the night, a long, deep mutter, then a rising howl, and then the sad moan in which it died away. Again and again it sounded, the whole air throbbing with it, strident, wild and menacing - The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Though I had watched the adventures of Sherlock Holmes on television, it was in 7th grade, in the base library at Upper Heyford, England, that I discovered the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Instantly I was transported to the dangerous, cobblestoned streets of Victorian London, a London populated by master criminals and dunder headed policemen.
It was a time which cried out for the man named Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes is one literary character who truly needs no introduction. We have all seen the various interpretations of him, played by a wide range of actors, including Jeremy Brett, Basil Rathbone, Tom Baker, Stewart Granger, Nicol Williamson, Peter Cushing and Roger Moore, among others.
Though a loyal subject of Queen Victoria, he is very much a citizen of the world.
While browsing through Gazebo Books in Eureka Springs a few years ago, I happened upon The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is probably the most famous Holmes story ever written. I recalled that whoever had borrowed my copy had never returned it, so I grabbed it quickly from the shelf.
The only full-length Holmes novel penned by Doyle, it is a story which forces Holmes to look in the face of pure evil - not only in the form of the man behind the plot to murder members of the Baskerville family, but also the demonic killer dog of the title.
This Hound is no random killer; it is after the last surviving Baskerville, just as surely as any of today's celebrated movie serial killers stalking their victims.
And the moor which the Hound inhabits? Dark, dank and deadly, it is a world in which the slightest misstep can bring a man to his doom.
It is this alien world which beckons to the world's greatest consulting detective and his companion, Doctor John Watson, in their quest to stop a fiendish killer.
This is probably the most devilish, not to mention complex, of the original Holmes stories.
Though by now several score writers have added their names to the roster (the best being Nicholas Meyer and Loren D. Estelman) The Hound of the Baskervilles simply can't be touched for the its storytelling, and dramatic presentation of evil.
Over one hundred years later, Doyle's story continues to haunt us, and his immortal character strides with as we make our way through the 21st Century.
I sometimes think that Holmes wouldn't like our world; we are terribly short on critical thinking, and I doubt he'd have much patience with most of us.
And most of our crime isn't committed by master criminals. but is more often committed for cruelty's sake as much as anything else. Though he accompanies us, I think it best he bring his London with him, along with the loyal John Watson, the Baker Street Irregulars, and men and women who committed great crimes at times simply for sheer intellectual pleasure.
This is the same pleasure which Holmes utilized to bring them to justice. And it is the same pleasure I found last again, wandering London's fog enshrouded cobblestoned streets, and the mist covered Devonshire moors, taking care not to lose myself in the great Grimpen Mire.