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Pierre Tristam
Author Archive:

Ebola Isn’t a Problem in the U.S.
Hysteria and Xenophobia Are.

| October 26, 2014

There is not going to be an Ebola epidemic in the United States. There isn’t one now. But there is a an epidemic of hysteria and cowardice that’s costing more lives in Africa, and that could threaten the West if segregationists have their way.

Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of Mourning

| May 28, 2014

Starting with ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ Maya Angelou’s seven-part autobiography redefined the art of memoir writing while giving voice to a form of literary jazz and blues that trace the liberation and triumphs of a black woman in a culture that, as a result, bears her mark.

Global Warning Olympics: Closing Ceremonies for Winter

| February 23, 2014

Watching the Olympics requires too much of a suspension of disbelief to make the effort worth the time or the self-deception. There was an added and quite massive invention to these games: faking winter in a warming world, though in that regard we’re all self-deluded Russians.

The Shame of Guantanamo, 11 Years On

| January 4, 2014

The irony should not be lost on us that our congressional district is represented by Ron DeSantis, the sort of fanatic who had no trouble advertising his brief service in Guantanamo’s kangaroo courts as a badge of honor while leaving silent his employment with a more legitimate Florida corporate law firm. With political charlatans like that in Congress, it’s no wonder Guantanamo endures.

Before Florida Made an Ass of Christmas, Philadelphia Gave Us a Founding Nativity Scene

| December 20, 2013

The Rick Scott administration’s illiterate interpretation of the Bible and the first amendment turned the Florida Capitol rotunda into a comedy of absurd Christmas displays and discrimination, all of which could have been avoided with a reason and respect–for the holidays and the Constitution.

Holding a Candle to a Citizenship Oath

| December 16, 2013

Twenty-seven ago today I was one among a few hundred Technicolor-skinned and Babel-tongued immigrants who jammed into an enormous hall in Federal District Court in Brooklyn and recited the oath of citizenship. A candle-lighting has marked the occasion every year since.

Pam Bondi’s Pot Problem

| December 6, 2013

It’s a matter of time before marijuana is legalized, for medical uses or not, even in Florida. But Attorney General Pam Bondi is doing her best to preserve a prohibition that relies on disinformation to benefit cops and jails at the expense of greater safety, less crime and more compassion, were marijuana to be legalized.

Mother’s Day Confidential: News of My Mom’s Death Was Slightly Premature

| May 12, 2013

Receiving a condolence note about my mother sent in error by the hospice company caring for her should have been disturbing. It was merely disappointing–for not being true.

Facebook Effect: For Workers On or Off the Job, Individual Rights Are Dead

| April 7, 2013

Employers’ presumptions on workers’ behavior on and off the job have more in common with the inquisition or police states than with the bill of rights. Transgressors are routinely humiliated, silenced, censured or fired over speech or behavior companies should have no right to police.

Missing Memorials to Two Lost Wars

| March 17, 2013

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, but as Iraq and Afghanistan have been lost, the focus of memorials has shifted from wars to the cult of the soldiers, while victims of war are as always passed over in silence.

Arming Teachers Isn’t Enough:
A Proposal of Modest Caliber

| January 13, 2013

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre is proposing having an armed guard in every school. That’s insane, because it’s not enough: teachers, principals, librarians, counselors, bus drivers should all be armed, and of course children, too, should be armed.

Showing Cops the Middle Finger

| January 6, 2013

When John Swartz was arrested for flipping off a cop, he sued, and appears headed for a win–as he should: rude expression is not a crime, and the obscenity is far surpassed by that of cops exercising arbitrary authority over bruised egos.

The Soft-Core Terrorism
Of Florida’s Gun Worship

| December 16, 2012

Florida’s gun-worship is part of a lethal, juvenile romance for guns and a national disease that doesn’t hesitate to lock and load the words “gun” and “hobby” in the same chamber while vilifying those who’d imply a connection with the consequences.

Florida Republicans’ Poll Tax Nostalgia

| October 12, 2012

Hoping to minimize Democrats’ turnout, the GOP-dominated Florida Legislature is going out of its way to make voting more of a privilege than an absolute right. There are a few ways to get around the voter-suppression schemes.

Obama’s Clobbering

| October 4, 2012

Mitt Romney demolished the Obama mystique in Denver while Obama surrendered: This is the Obama flincher we’ve come to know. The man of a thousand retreats. The prevaricator. The terminated.

Two of My Favorite Jews

| October 1, 2012

Sam and Dave Markowitz celebrate birthdays with Duke Ellington, from behind the paywall of Volusia County’s Evin prison.

From Beirut to 9/11:
When Barbarism Follows Barbarism

| September 11, 2012

Revulsion over the losses in New York and Washington aside, the attack triggered a succession of fears: That the barbarism I so gladly left behind 23 years ago is here.

A Lifeguard’s Soul,
Outsourced to the Bottom line

| July 8, 2012

Thomas Lopez was fired by Jeff Ellis and Associates, the private company to whom Hallandale Beach outsourced its lifeguard services, when Lopez tried to save a drowning man beyond his jurisdiction. It’s an example of privatization’s immoral priorities.

Gator Shame: Why I’m Relieved My Daughter Won’t Be Attending the University of Florida

| May 20, 2012

Athletics aside, Florida doesn’t take its public universities and public schools seriously, making it difficult for top students to stay here–or for the state to depend on more than tourist ghettoes, sunbathing spreads and Medicare colonies.

Rick Scott’s Obsession With Other People’s Urine

| May 3, 2012

Anyone other than my doctor who’d ask me to pee in a cup isn’t just out of line. He’d be out of his mind. Yet an entire industry thrives on such cup-holders, Gov. Rick Scott among them, and millions of Americans are not only complying with the docility of circus animals. They’re encouraging the indignity and asking for more.

The 4th Amendment, Stripped and Degraded

| April 8, 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision allowing the strip-searching of anyone booked into jail–no matter how small the charge, no matter the presumption of innocence of the accused–is merely the latest in a long series of constitutional violations, enshrined by conservative justices.

Stonehenge Justices: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Stuffy Ban on TV Cameras and Live Audio

| March 25, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on television cameras or live audio feed for its arguments, including this week’s on the health law, is absurd. The justices opposition to cameras rests on shabby reasoning and stuffed up conceits.

Flagler’s and Florida’s Economic Development Hoax

| March 18, 2012

Florida lawmakers and their local replicas seem hypnotized by the buzz of economic development, nattering about it with great stamina. But it’s a hoax, and a costly one. The assault on public and higher education of the last few years proves it.

Do Kiss, Do Tell, Do Show

| March 9, 2012

The homecoming picture of the gay Marine kissing his boyfriend has the same iconic feel as Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Life magazine shot of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day. Both images capture the essence of liberation on a large scale.

Lady Liberty at Flagler Palm Coast High School: When Veterans Get Patriotism All Wrong

| February 11, 2012

Veterans complained to the Flagler County School Board that student portrayals of Lady Liberty they say at FPC “desecrated” her and the flag and should be removed. The veterans were wrong, and were themselves desecrating American values.

Komen and the Smear on Planned Parenthood: Swiftboating Tactics From Abortion Zealots

| February 3, 2012

The Susan J. Komen foundation had a choice with Planned Parenthood: Stick with rational neutrality or surrender to the political contamination of reactionaries’ echo chambers and the bogus war on abortion. Komen surrendered. The war on cancer–the only war worth fighting–and women will suffer.

Whether It’s Romney or Obama, Democracy Is Losing Big

| February 1, 2012

No wonder so many people don’t see the point in voting. While the rest of us play one man, one vote in democracy’s delusional sandbox, a bunch of donors who add up to a cocktail party’s guest list are sealing the campaign’s fate.

The Live Profile:
Who The Hell Is Saul Alinsky?

| January 29, 2012

Saul Alinsky: a profile of the author of “Rules for Radicals,” dead since 1972, whom Newt Gingrich names as the reason to oppose Barack Obama. But the Saul Alinsky Gingrich creates never existed. The invention is more revealing of Gingrich than it is of Alinsky. A corrective to both.

Don’t Ban Internet Cafés. Regulate Them.

| January 23, 2012

Internet cafés may be a pest, and their proponents make laughable arguments when they claim they’re not about gambling. But it’s not government’s business to ban them while swinging from the lottery’s levers. Regulation is the key.

Flouting the First:
Florida’s Slouch Back To Religious Favoritism

| January 16, 2012

Florida’s proposed “Religious Freedom” amendment and a bill that would enable prayer at public school events project the false impression that religious expression in the public sphere is under siege, when the reverse is closer to the mark–as a bias particularly favoring Christianity.

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