February 11th, 2014

Alan - pansy -

On the Good Ship Lollipop -

My mother and Shirley Temple were the same age.  My mother had a Shirley Temple doll, and clothes, and probably curls.  We watched Shirley Temple movies together and I've drunk many a Shirley Temple in my time.

I remember when we went to my grandmother's home to pull my mother's Shirley Temple doll down from the top of a closet.  She had not weathered well, did not appeal to me.  I had my Betsy Wetsy doll who I loved.

Those were the days of "doll hospitals".  I remember going to one with my mother.  You would leave your doll there, and come back with her repaired.  I was gentle with my dolls, so think it must have been one of my mother's childhood dolls we were there to repair.

There is an ice storm in Atlanta.  I was in Atlanta one February for my uncle's funeral, and there was an ice storm.  It was beautiful, exquisitely beautiful, but treacherous driving.  I remember how the cars on both sides of the freeway stopped for the funeral procession.  I was touched.

That brings me to my cousin's death in Australia.  He was very young.  My mother died February 18, 2005.  I seem caught in memory today.

Jane and I are writing a poem for a postcard each day and sending it to the other.

Today I write:

Every day an anniversary



the fruit

the heart

of memory

and experience

what hovers

and surrounds

Alan - sunrise - Palm Springs area

Balance with the past -

There is an article in the New York Review of Books by Susan Dunn on Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. This book, like her others, looks like a winner.  I take two paragraphs from the article by Susan Dunn.

"To a great extent, Goodwin views Theodore Roosevelt's career through the lens of his relationships with the press.  Much of The Bully Pulpit focuses on the complex, often constructive, and sometimes contentious partnerships that Roosevelt worked out with a generation of investigative journalists. Goodwin credits these partnerships not only with illuminating the corruption and abuses of the industrial age but with clarifying "a progressive vision for the entire nation," a vision aided by Roosevelt's astute use of his presidential bully pulpit.

 Notwithstanding the tremendous growth of the industrial age - railroads, telegraph wires, steamships, mines, cities - as Henry George argued in his 1879 Progress and Poverty, these vaunted advances made it "no easier for the masses of our people to make a living. On the contrary, it is becoming harder." Progress had widened the gulf between rich and poor, making the struggle for existence more intense and jeopardizing the stability of a democratic society. "To base a state with glaring social inequalities on political institutions where people are supposed to be equal," George wrote, "is to stand a pyramid on its head. Eventually, it will fall.""

President Barack Obama has been influenced by Goodwin's book on Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals.  He's had an uphill battle there, as people seemed a little more conciliatory in those days, and more willing to work for the good of the country as a whole, but here is another book asking now for the media to step up to the plate and use their investigative power for constructive change.  One might ask how much power and independence they have these days.  We will see, but the book looks like a fascinating and motivating read.