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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Bob Hooper » Archives for Bob Hooper

By Bob Hooper on February 25, 2012

Full disclosure. It's been a long time since I was pregnant. In fact, I can't remember when. But I was bedside at my oldest daughter's arrival at Doc Limes' home-town maternity clinic.

I claim only to have been an amazed (and nervous) spectator, but I think I began to appreciate more the courage, strength, and miracle of women. Whatever men say, the best of us haven't a clue beyond that. Bill Cosby once asked Carol Burnett what birth pains were like.

"'Grab your lower lip," she said. "Now pull it over your head." Men know little about pregnancy or childbirth beyond the mechanics instigating the fact (and I've heard they're often klutzes there, too.).

Despite that, a gritty bunch of self-assured males in priestly vestment are confident artificial birth control is a sin. Whether they think it's a mortal or a venial sin is hard to pin down. However, their missionary position is this: sex for fun is agin' God's rules. It grates on God's nerves. Good women should wrestle in the hay strictly to procreate and bear children to fill pews today, coffers tomorrow. Otherwise, as Hamlet would advise, "Get thee to a nunnery."

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on January 15, 2012

In his speech last December at Osawatomie KS High School, President Obama cited Theodore Roosevelt's remarks there a century earlier.


Republican President Theodore Roosevelt served from 1901 to 1909. In 1912, representing the Bull Moose Party, he lost to Woodrow Wilson--the only time a 3rd Party candidate has finished as high as second. Every place I looked, Theodore Roosevelt ranks in the top 10 US Presidents, and in none lower than 6th.

In 2010, 238 participating presidential scholars at Siena College Research Institute concluded: "Teddy Roosevelt had, more than any other president, the 'right stuff,' and tops the collective ranking of a cluster of personal qualities including imagination, integrity, intelligence, luck, background and being willing to take risks." He is one of the four U.S. Presidents honored on Mt. Rushmore.

Roosevelt was an environmentalist. He led in establishing 5 national parks, 18 national monuments, and 150 National Forests. I have little doubt as President today he would work with climate scientists to deal with the reality of global warming. As governor of Kansas, he would demand something beyond pious rhetoric to end mining of the Ogallala. But...

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on December 6, 2011

A man said to the Universe, "Sir, I exist!" "However," replied the Universe, "the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation." -- Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

A reader asked me to write about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, now postponed until 2013.

The 36-inch diameter pipe would cover 329 miles in Canada, cross the border at Montana, angle through South Dakota and Nebraska (with a branch to Illinois). Photo shows truck hauling 36-Inch pipe to build Keystone-Cushing Pipeline south-east of Peabody, Kansas, 2010 (from WIkipedia).

Then it would slice across the eastern third of Kansas through Oklahoma to Texas -- over 2,100 miles in all. The estimated 1.1 million barrels daily of synthetic crude oil from Alberta tar sands would equate to 5 pct. of present U.S. oil consumption, and 9 pct. of our present imports.

Estimates of new jobs vary wildly. Promoters say 250,000. Skeptics say as few as 4,000--most temporary. The environmental degradation to Canada would be (and already is) dramatic. Leaks are a constant worry. If 97 percent of climate scientists have it right, continued fossil fuel burning is a bigger threat. Those who've read my columns know I'm convinced scientists are correct.

But there's an underlying and larger issue: the deception of free market capitalism. It isn't free. It's cracked, and the crack is growing.

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on November 21, 2011

There's a lot of stuff goin' around these days. I know because quite a bit comes my way intended to set me straight.

One recent email forwarded from a persistent lady in this neck of the woods (forwarded to her from a guy in that neck of the woods, endlessly forwarded to him by... etc.) provided a quote claimed to be from Norman Thomas.

It went:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."

If you're a righty-fighty you probably got it, too, since fellow travelers are usually targeted. And you like it because, yeah, you know, there's black and there's white. There's us'ns and them'ns. Us'ns is good and them'ns is evil. Socialism is them'ns and capitalism is us'ns. Us'ns is goodness incorporated. Socialism is... Well, you can figure it out. Wait. No you can't.

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on November 2, 2011

It was past time, he said.

"We're going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes make it possible for millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary and that's crazy." He paused.

Then with a wide grin, "You think the millionaire ought to pay more taxes than the bus driver ..or less?" A thunderous "MORE!" from the crowd.

It's Obama and his class war .... W.w.w.wait. You're shaking your head. Not Oba..? Wha...Reagan?? Reagan, a Marxist economic justice'er?

Well, indeed, it was Ronald Reagan. He was speaking at Northside HIgh School in Atlanta on June 6, 1985, shortly after starting his 2nd term.

But as always there's more to the story. Even as he grinned and wagged, the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us kept right on growing while we were kept distracted by fear-mongering and ramped up jingoism. Today, the gap is wider than at any time since the Great Depression and, yes, keeps widening as you read.

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on October 14, 2011

The issue of abortion is not so simple as some absolutists would have us believe. Consequently, I am reluctantly pro-choice: abortions should be legal, safe, and rare. Women, with their doctors and chosen advisors are best qualified to make the often agonizing decision--not the government or self-appointed religious authorities. Today, my aim is not to make light of a serious issue, but instead (with a smidgen of grim bedside humor) raise what seem to me both legitimate and necessary questions. Now then....


1 Morally and/or religiously speaking, should sexual intercourse occur exclusively to make females pregnant? Yes. No. I'll take the 5th.

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on October 13, 2011

“The protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent,” wrote Paul Krugman in the New York Times. “The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.”

The reaction from the super-wealthy is nothing new. Throughout history, any time an informed and activist citizenry challenges the power and greed of the wealthy--the wealthy and their toadies are first nervous, then begin the campaign to discredit or sabotage protests. Those who haven't read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" should turn off TV for a week, find a quiet place and read it.

The corporate-friendly right wingers try to promote the notion that the protests are about envy of wealth. Sorry, the real problem is not wealth but greed.

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on October 11, 2011

If someone stopped me on the street and asked, 'What is the greatest threat facing America today?' I would not hesitate to answer ---- greed. ---Rev. Robin R. Meyers. "Saving Jesus from the Church."

Somewhere burned into my neural wiring was a comment by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who served for 23 years in a time much like our own-- a time when there was an argument about whose interests government should serve, the rich or the rest of us--and the rich were winning. I couldn't remember where I saw it.

Brandeis's service in our highest court was a time of great disparity of wealth,. Predictably, it was also a time of great disparity of social and political power. Until the cataclysm of the Great Depression, the egotism of the wealthy prevailed that not only should they influence government, but in fact be government--to become ever richer.

In re-reading Thomas Frank's "The Wrecking Crew" I relocated Brandeis's comment. Brandeis had warned Americans: "We can have a democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on October 9, 2011

For congregations at one pole of our polarized politics, materialist, consumerist, unregulated, free market capitalism is all the rage. It is a fundamentalist religion whose version of the Nicene Creed is that government oversight born of public interest is satanic. Greed is the gift of the Lord.

That is a far cry from the conclusion of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Hobbes warned that without government, the result would be a ruthless war of all against all.

Read more of this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on October 12, 2010

Dr. Robert Musil held his hand palm down, just over knee high. "This is where global warming ranks in today's political dialog.." He brought his hand head high. "What's here?" From the 50 people gathered at Cafe Semolino in Hays, Kansas, last month came the quick response: "Jobs! The economy."

Speaking without a script, Musil sometimes rambled. But his three-part thesis was clear: (1) global warming is an international concern (2) ordinary citizens should not be sideline spectators, but demand timely progress (3) success requires persistence. Don't give up.

For Musil the fact of global warming is just that--a fact. No show of hands, but I'm guessing those present were mostly in agreement. A handful of students, surely there for extra-credit, got glassy-eyed at times. Too low-tech, I suppose.

The focus soon sharpened to what efficiency might accomplish: turning thermostats down, swapping out incandescent bulbs, remembering to switch off the lights or turn off the TV when nobody's in the room. A gentleman perched on a stool toward the back spoke up. Eating less meat, he said, would reduce demand on fossil fuel. Fattening livestock is not fossil fuel efficient. There were some grimaces and squirms at shorting ourselves on t-bones, or even burgers. Surely some cattle ranchers were present, too. Americans not only like their creature comforts but generally feel entitled.

Read more of this post here ...

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