The Christmas Eve morning report: Chocolate and heart-warming photos are among items under the blog tree | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Christmas Eve morning report: Chocolate and heart-warming photos are among items under the blog tree

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 7:18 AM

?GOT A FAVORITE ORNAMENT: After my kids' handmade items from Christmases past, mine just might be the old upright Underwood typewriter ornament.
  • ?GOT A FAVORITE ORNAMENT: After my kids' handmade items from Christmases past, mine just might be the old upright Underwood typewriter ornament.

I expect light duty on the blog today and tomorrow. Some notes from here and there:

* FIGHTING VOTE SUPPRESSION: Think Progress takes heart that Stanford Law prof Pam Karlan will become the country's top voting rights defender in the Justice Department. If Democrats had decided to take on the filibuster blockade earlier, the brilliant liberal litigator would have a federal appellate court seat.  She's needed. In Arkansas and in many other states. Republicans want only their kind to vote.

* IN WHOM DO YOU TRUST: A thoughtful essay from the New York Times by Joseph Stiglitz on the deterioration in trust in America. Staggering inequality has led to the erosion of trust, he writes. Trust a bank? Really? Trust corporations that think huge CEO pay isn't enough to insure hard work, but enormous bonuses are also required? Trust politicians not to cheat? Solution:

I suspect there is only one way to really get trust back. We need to pass strong regulations, embodying norms of good behavior, and appoint bold regulators to enforce them. We did just that after the roaring ’20s crashed; our efforts since 2007 have been sputtering and incomplete. Firms also need to do better than skirt the edges of regulations. We need higher norms for what constitutes acceptable behavior, like those embodied in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. But we also need regulations to enforce these norms — a new version of trust but verify. No rules will be strong enough to prevent every abuse, yet good, strong regulations can stop the worst of it.

That is, sad to say, the only hope for more ethically inclined Arkansas elected officials. Stronger laws to regulate them and punish the violators. Is there a better example than Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, whose majority political party thinks cheating on office and campaign expense accounts is not even worth a mild reprimand from fellow party members and has prompted his own whine that he's being treated unfairly by being prevented from plundering the state for personal expense money for a part-time job?

* ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WOMEN WHO ENTER ARKANSAS: Another list, another ranking in which Arkansas gets high attention. It's from Huffington Post, a list of the nine worst states for reproductive rights in 2013.


The Lives They Lived

Dec. 29, the New York Times magazine will run its feature on notables who died in 2013. In the days preceding, the newspaper is soliciting from readers and displaying on-line photos and and memories of people close to them who died this year.  It is great, touching stuff. Typical is the picture and story of cancer patient Michael Feeney below.

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French feast on chocolate

Chocoholics won't want to miss a NY Times slide show of the chocolate wonders of Paris and France at Christmas time. It accompanies this article. Love or hate the French, nobody feasts in higher style. One of our most memorable Christmases was spent at my sister-in-law's home in Paris. We awoke in a small hotel off a famous shopping street and watched with great pleasure Parisians going Christmas morning to get the ingredients for their feasts at the specialty shops — gorgeous Buche de Noel;s, the pastry Yule logs; oysters; champagne; creamy cheeses and lots more. But the chocolate shops were the jewels of the offerings,  Among the photos is the Alain Ducasse chocolate Christmas tree.

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