It will be remembered for one man only.

By Marta H. Mossburg – 1.31.14

The meaning of words still matter beyond how they sound.

It’s easy to forget that listening to President Barack Obama sometimes, like during the State of the Union Tuesday.

While watching it I kept thinking of friends’ language poetry class in college, where the point was to string words together in a pleasing manner purposely disconnected from meaning -- in order to create a new meaning.

Those poems baffled me then just as President Obama’s speech did the other night because reality is so different from the one he talked about and the self-contradictions overflowed.


Not just another MSNBC moment.

By Marta H. Mossburg – 1.24.14

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rant against conservatives last week is not just another MSNBC moment. Unlike the cable channel’s talking heads whose incivility toward non leftists has led to multiple anguished on-air apologies in the past year alone, he is a public official, elected to serve every citizen in his state. And given the Democrat’s presidential aspirations, his words should have special weight. So for him to say on the radio that “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay” …. “have no place in the state of New York” is significant.

If he becomes president, would he only be the president of progressives? Would he apply the tax code to everyone fairly or only those who voted for him -- to bring up a recent example? Would he shut down toll lanes in counties that opposed him -- to bring up an even more recent example? Would he launch a caste system in the United States to differentiate between degrees of correct thinking? Would those who disagree with him be allowed to stay in America? People can leave New York after all – and are by the thousands each year – but what about the country? Will Canada see a rush of political dissidents? In an ironic way, he’s pushing for an Ayn Rand solution, where all those of like minds get to live in their own isolated communities.

His comments also suggest that those who hold non progressive views do not deserve a voice, as if he were head of writing speech codes at a university and not governor of the third largest state in the union.


Temporary cultural rubbernecking.

By Marta H. Mossburg – 1.17.14

The friendship former NBA player Dennis Rodman has with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un is not as bizarre as commentators suggest. It certainly seems odd to befriend a man whose government is known for starving its people and imprisoning generations of a family for false crimes against one. And his outburst with CNN’s Chris Cuomo last week in which he essentially accused the American Kenneth Bae, who has been held captive by North Korea since 2012,  of deserving an 15-year sentence to hard labor for unspecified crimes was disturbing.

In case you missed it, he said, "Do you understand what he did in this country?" Rodman asked Cuomo. "No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why?"

"I would love to speak on this," Rodman rambled on drunkenly (as he later admitted), before quickly switching to a new topic.

But humans love spectacle – think Americans’ fascination with Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga and way back when, Madonna, when she still shocked. They are human equivalents of car wrecks that cause temporary cultural rubbernecking until a new human crash arrives. The tubby young basketball-loving dictator and Mr. Rodman are not sensations in and of themselves, although the lavishly tattooed Rodman who often sported fluorescent hair was temporarily when he played professionally, but they are novel to one another and together, they focus international attention on themselves in a way that neither could alone. Think Jesse Jackson meeting with former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Apart, they are like vinegar and baking soda, but together they cause a media eruption!


Freedom is just a means to an end.

By Marta H. Mossburg – 1.10.14

Boy, have progressives “evolved.” The party of saloon protesters, suffragettes and crusaders against smoking, prostitution and immigration are now the champions of government-regulated vice.

They no longer want to save souls, but use them to increase tax revenue to fund an ever expanding list of new priorities in a turnaround that would likely make Frances Willard, the famous head of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in the late 1800s, reach for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.