All posts by James G. Blaine

James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.

The Real War on Coal

Tomorrow my grandson, Jamie Webb, turns two years old. It’s also Earth Day’s 47th birthday and, not coincidentally, the first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement on global climate change. The events are not unrelated, for absent a missile miscalculation, the most important issue in my grandson’s future is the health of the […]

On a Roll

President Rutherford B. Hayes introduced the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn in 1878. That was also the year he vetoed the Chinese Exclusion Act – the first time our federal government tried to ban immigrants solely on the basis of their ethnicity. Improbably, the Easter Bunny appeared during the Nixon years, and […]

“My Name is Emmett Till”

The most controversial work in the biennial show at the Whitney Museum in New York is “Open Casket,” an oil painting by Dana Schutz. It depicts the mutilated face of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who was tortured, beaten beyond recognition and lynched in Money, Mississippi, in 1955, after a white woman accused him of flirting […]

Peace After Terror

By Daniel Blaine Saturday, I went to the spot where the Swedish terrorist attack took place. Incredibly powerful. Behind us was a kids’ toy store, which is on the ground floor of a large building and had apparently been the target of the driver of the stolen truck because it had a big pillar he […]

In Praise of Cherry Trees

Sakura Park lies just east of Grant’s tomb above the Hudson River on New York’s upper west side. Its two acres are dominated by tall cherry trees, which is fitting, since sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom and the trees were given by Japan to the people of New York in 1912. Our […]

One More Thumb in the Nose

It’s fitting, I guess, that yesterday’s evisceration of Barack Obama’s environmental and climate achievements came four days after the 28th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez’s 11-million-gallon crude-oil spill into Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay. Fitting, too, that Donald Trump signed his executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency, an office he intends to dismantle along with much […]

A moment to cheer, not a time to gloat

Donald Trump’s two major initiatives to date have failed spectacularly, and Democrats have yet to cast a vote. Instead, the courts put his travel bans on hold and the Republicans defeated their own health-care plan. When the bully loses a fight or two, it can be liberating for everyone else in the schoolyard. It can […]

American Weekend (RIP)

“If you had tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’” – John Lennon “If you want to know about American greatness, go back and read all the work that Jimmy [Breslin] wrote” – Michael Daly “I would have the knees of a twelve-year-old now if I hadn’t danced […]

Beauty and the Shopping Piece

In “the transformative power of classical music,” Benjamin Zander describes and plays a two-minute piece by Chopin. He asks his audience to “think of somebody who you adore who’s no longer there [and] bring that person into your mind and at the same time, follow the line all the way from B to E, and […]