25th Annual Leaf Lookers GEMBOREE :: Friday, October 17 - Sunday, October 19 at the Macon County Community Building

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Opinion

It’s been 50 years since the Beatles — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — first landed in America on Feb. 7, 1964, and the news media is awash with nostalgic tributes to the band that “changed everything.”

While there is much to celebrate about the Beatles coming to America, there is also much to regret starting with the fact that while we may remember the music of the Beatles, we’ve lost sight of the hope for change and revolutionary spirit that were hallmarks of those days. Indeed, the Beatles opened the floodgates of music with their riveting Feb. 9 performance on the Ed Sullivan Show which was televised to 72 million Americans in what has been dubbed “the night that changed America.” Beatlemania, in turn, helped fuel a social, cultural and political revolution that took aim at everything from war, capitalism and racism to women’s rights, militarization and equality.

 

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You, or someone you love, may have amylophobia. I fortunately don't have it, which is good since I can't pronounce it. The word amylophobia originated during an anti-bread movement in the 1920s and it translates as “the fear of starch.” The latest incarnation of this theme has zeroed in on gluten, the protein component of wheat and other grains. An expanded list of offending foods have emerged that range from bread and pasta to beer and pretzels. The gluten list also includes non-grain products such as sauces, seasoning, juices, etc. that can have gluten introduced during processing.

There's plenty of money to be made by not selling something. Gluten-free products are big business. A pizzeria chain in Ohio is test-marketing a pizza - sans the dough. The crust is a soy composition, so there is a “bottom” to place the toppings on. At least the pizza maker doesn't have to worry about hand-tossing the dough. They should take it a couple steps further and make the pizza edible for lactose intolerant folks and for vegetarians. Tofu and tomato sauce sounds yummy.

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Fifty years ago this month – on Jan. 8, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson announced an "unconditional war on poverty in America." Considering the money spent on poverty-related programs in the ensuing half century – $16 trillion, according to the Cato Institute – and the percentage of Americans still listed as poor, it’s time to concede defeat, change strategy or redefine poverty.

Conceding defeat against poverty is unacceptable, of course. But redefining poverty means building a better safety net, not opening a bigger umbrella, as President Obama is expected to propose in his State of the Union Address this month. He's expected to dramatize income inequality – the gap between the “rich” and “poor” – and seek an increase in the minimum wage and an extension of longterm unemployment benefits.

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It’s time for a philosophy of ‘militant nonviolent resistance’

We now live in a two-tiered system of governance. There are two sets of laws: one set for the government and its corporate allies, and another set for you and me. The laws which apply to the majority of the population allow the government to do things like sending SWAT teams crashing through your door in the middle of the night, rectally probing you during a roadside stop, or listening in on your phone calls and reading all of your email messages, confiscating your property, or indefinitely detaining you in a military holding cell.

Then there are the laws constructed for the elite, which allow bankers who crash the economy to walk free. They’re the laws which allow police officers to avoid prosecution when they shoot unarmed citizens, strip search non-violent criminals, taser pregnant women on the side of the road, or pepper spray peaceful protestors. These are the laws of the new age we are entering, an age of neo-feudalism, in which corporate-state rulers dominate the rest of us. In other words, we have moved into an age where we are the slaves and they are the rulers.

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