What origin story does Biden have in common with our top-tier presidents?

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Photo by Марьян Блан | @marjanblan on Unsplash

When people made light of Joseph Robinette Biden’s speech patterns during the campaign, I thought, “but he’s talked like that for decades.” So it clicked like a Rubik’s Cube when I read that JRB’s verbal stumbles reflected a speech disability, not encroaching senility: he stuttered as a child.

Remember when Donald Trump made fun of that reporter with a disability? It made me wonder what would have happened if opponents had made fun of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inability to walk. At a time when a physical disability was commonly thought to indicate a weak mind, he could have lost the election. Without FDR, we wouldn’t have Social Security. …


Find out what happens when you forget to buy candy for (a normal) Halloween.

(First printed in the Indyweek.com.)

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Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

The look on my wife’s face told me that she didn’t think handing out sugar packets at Halloween would be as funny in practice as it sounded in conversation.

“But Chris, I’ll have honey packets and cane sugar packets for the granola kids.”

No. Instead we handed out Hershey bars and chocolate-coated caramel globes with foil wrappers that look like bloodshot eyeballs. They’re called “Creepy Peepers.” Yum, yum.

Some of the ingredients of Creepy Peepers, in descending quantities: sugar, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, corn syrup, invert sugar, cocoa, skim milk, whey, lactose, emulsifiers, artificial flavors, salt and assorted chemicals. …


It’s Impossible to be Happy if You Haven’t Found Your Calling in Life

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Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

The CoronApocalypse has many students thinking of taking a gap year. I say, “Go.” But don’t do it just to avoid remote classes. Do as I did when I left school: make it a quest to find your calling in life.

Both of my parents were sergeants in the Marines Corps. Their highest aspiration for their skinny, bookish son was that I go to college and become a Marine officer. Short of that, my becoming a doctor or lawyer was their fallback position. I merely hoped to find work that made me happy to wake up every morning. …


Food Waste or Fritattas?

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NY Times best-selling author Amy Stewart fights climate disruption by feeding leftovers to her backyard hens.

Holidays are often built around food. And there’s always some leftover. When I ask the waiter for a to-go box and say, “If I don’t eat it, our chickens will,” they’re happy to hear that nothing goes to waste. Our hens — Buttercup, Domenica, Mezza Luna, Carbonara and Gelato — leap over each other to clean up leftover bread crusts, potato skins and pasta from fine restaurants. My wife, Chris, then turns their glorious eggs into lemon custard, quiche and birthday cakes.

Throughout the year, our hens also like all the kitchen scraps we give them (with the exception of avocados, which are toxic). They attack cereal crumbs, overripe cucumbers, carrot tops, corncobs and more. Another chicken favorite is leftover cooking oils and fats; common ingredients for commercial pet food. We let fats set up in the fridge overnight and feed them to the hens the next morning. They think it’s pudding. It disappears fast. Remember that chickens are not vegetarians (nor are they egalitarians, feminists or pacifists, but that’s grist for another story). They like meat, including gristle, tendons and fat. They will devour shrimp shells whole and pick bones clean, leaving nothing to attract vermin. …


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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Students who had survived the Valentine’s Day shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida could be seen a week later crying in the state house balcony. They had witnessed a party line vote in which Republicans blocked an assault weapon ban that is supported by a 2–1 majority both in Florida and across the US.

Large majorities of the public find themselves increasingly at odds with the Republican Party not only on boosting gun safety, but also on ending discrimination against gays, defending abortion rights, raising the minimum wage and expanding Social Security and Medicare just to name a few of many such issues. …


But It’s a Class War that We’re Losing. For Now.

For the 40 years since 1980, wages for most working families have been stagnant. Yet profits and productivity still roughly doubled. I’m not a socialist, but that sounds like class war to me.

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Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

On Christmas 244 years ago, Washington and his army crossed the Delaware; in sturdy craft called “Durham boats” no less. They surprised the Hessian mercenaries in Trenton and won a battle that changed the direction of the Revolutionary War.

Hopefully this November 3rd Democrats will defeat a different set of mercenaries and change the direction of a modern war. …


Racism also masks efforts to undermine the white working class.

The Confederacy — and the slavery that spawned it — was one big con job on the southern, white, working class. A con job funded by some of the ante-bellum one-per-centers, that continues today in a similar form.

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Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

I’ve lived 55 years in the South and I grew up liking the Confederate flag. I haven’t flown one for many decades, but for a reason that might surprise you.

I know the South well. We lived wherever the Marine Corps stationed my father: Georgia, Virginia, the Carolinas. As a child, my favorite uncle wasn’t in the military, but he did pack a .45 caliber Thompson submachine gun in his trunk. He was a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. Despite my role models, as a kid I was an inept racist. I got in trouble once in the 1st grade for calling a classmate the N-word. …


And Repudiate Trump at the Same Time?

Two of our last three presidents lost the popular vote, but the Electoral College put them in the White House anyway. That can’t happen in any other democracy.

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Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

Two of our last three presidents lost the popular vote, but the Electoral College (EC) put them in the White House anyway. That can’t happen in any other democracy. A little research reveals that the EC is probably the single most powerful institution of white supremacy. …

About

Frank Hyman

Former city councilman, organizer, campaign manager. Author of a living wage ordinance. My essays: NYT, WSJ, dozens of newspapers. www.bluecollarcomeback.com.

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