Category Politics/Culture

American Distemper: On Not Letting Our Daubers Down

Roger Craig was an avuncular figure in the sometimes rough-and-tumble, sometimes over-sentimentalized world of major league baseball. He was a better-than-his-record starting pitcher mid-20th century, enjoying a 12-year career and four World Series appearances before staying in the game first as a scout and coach and then through a successful decade-long run as a manager.

It was during his eight-season run (1985-92) managing the San Francisco Giants in that cosmopolitan city that the slightly drawling Durham, North Carolina native became known and celebrated for a down-home phrase to keep his players’ spirits up, especially when they were leaving the clubhouse after a tough loss, or worse, several losses in a row.

“Don’t let your daubers down,” he would tell them, employing that delightful, if somewhat mysterious-origin word “daubers” to here mean their spirits, confidence and passion for the game.

One ne...

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Ten Essential Truths About January 6

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1. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

2.  It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

3. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

4. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

5. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

6. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

7. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

8. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

9. It was the only time in American history a president refused the peaceful transfer of power.

10...

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Kick-Ass Black Woman Tells It: Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”

Before she died in 2014, Maya Angelou had for decades enjoyed oil wells pumping in her living room, gold mines spewing riches in her backyard, and for a nice sexy touch, she appeared to keep diamonds at the meeting of her thighs. (No word on whether they came from a diamond mine in her bedroom…)

We know this because she described these mighty assets in her 1978 volume from Random House, “And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems,” one selection simply dropping the “And” to make “Still I Rise” the near-title poem in the collection. (The poem is printed in full below.)

Angelou was a seeming force of nature over the course of her 50+ year career as a memoirist, essayist, poet and civil rights activist. Morally serious, unafraid, measured and eloquent, her voice resounded both on the page and into microphones, making her compulsively listenable.

She was a kind of James Earl Jones of the literary set, giving nothing aw...

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Where Do We Go From Here?

Nothing in my life or readings in politics and history prepared me for the mounting despair I feel for the future of our country. This is something in many ways more disturbing and profound than the basic existential dread all humans experience at one time or other in their lives, or the grief they feel at a loved one’s loss.

That’s because it involves the very future itself, and one’s participation in a free, democratic society where laws, customs and norms matter, where they are able to hold fast against the forces of chaos, aggression and darkness.

The kind of darkness that has given rise to Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz and Madison Cawthorn, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan and Elise Stefanik, all prominent voices in a political party and congressional delegation that is utterly unrecognizable from just a decade or two ago and has given up even the pretension of sound, tho...

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Only Republicans Can Save America Now

The temptation is to look away, if just for a while. After all we have been through—fire and flood, pestilence, wars gone wrong, the savage persistence of hunger and homelessness, the slaughter of children in school hallways, the huddled masses repelled at our border, the daily ravings of a would-be dictator who is neither gone nor forgotten—we can be excused for wanting to lose ourselves in the sudden turning of the season and its poems, the music of the heavens, the antics of children and kittens and clouds.

The quotidian as succor, relief, our very salvation.

But peril lies that way. The pernicious forces of evil that begat an insurrection with its *“foul spirit”* of extremism mere months ago still bestride our land, endlessly recounting a settled election, creating barriers to future voting, empowering partisan state legislatures to overturn elections at their pleasure.

These gathering clouds are n...

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