Monthly Archives: November 2017

Cahiers de Hoummous: Hummus, an old-fashioned Thanksgiving tradition, and celebration of differences

mssabbaha2MidLaw was the first to suggest that hummus may have originated in Greensboro.

And, just as there are those who may disagree, there may also be those who disagree that the traditional centerpiece of an old-fashioned North Carolina Thanksgiving Dinner is a big mess of hummus with pita bread and all the trimmings (drizzled olive oil, toasted pine nuts, parsley, za’atar, smoked paprika, boiled eggs, and sumac).

MidLaw does not shun or reject those who have a different point of view. The essence of The MidLaw Way is to welcome differences with respect, a willingness to listen, and openness to learning something new.

There are many traditional family hummus recipes and celebrated regional differences — such as those between Eastern NC hummus and Piedmont hummus. Along The MidLaw Way,  “there are countless paths, each with its own landmarks, its own route.”

MidLaw gladly welcomes differences and is grateful for them in the great American tradition of Thanksgiving. (Was it the Native Americans or the Pilgrims who brought the hummus to the first Thanksgiving?)

And in that grand spirit, MidLaw wishes a Happy Thanksgiving to all its readers, worldwide!

Advertisements

Special Veterans Day Alert: Good news for NC veterans

VA Kernersville Health Care Center

MidLaw wishes to join the great chorus of the day with a message for veterans.

If you are a veteran who lives in central North Carolina, don’t believe what you may have heard. The outpatient medical services available to you at the Veterans Administration are quite amazing.

The Health Care Center in Kernersville is a marvel.

It’s new. It’s nicer – a more inviting place to be – than any medical facility MidLaw can name.

There’s a computer there that’s just waiting to hear from you – and it will ensure that when you come to the Center, there will be virtually no waiting. Computer though it is, it’s surrounded by all these people who seem very highly motivated to ensure that you are attended to.

Best of all: free hearing aids! State-of-the-art, top-of-the-line hearing aids and audiologists with accompanying equipment who are expert, responsive and experienced.

As far as I know, any hearing impairment is eligible for treatment. But, in particular, if you have a bit of a gap in the range that your left ear can hear, that’s consistent with exposure to firearms in a military setting. And, the VA’s the place for you to be.

And what devices they supply! My cell phone calls now come directly into my head. Nobody hears it ring but me. Music, podcasts – they all come straight into your head (if you want’em to).

Most astonishing! Since acquiring these devices, I’ve learned that very often, when people’s lips are moving that means they are seeking to communicate with you. And, my television has begun to function much better. Somehow though, there has been little improvement in my ability to hear certain communications from Sally. Nothing’s perfect.

MidLaw, at least, thanks the Veterans Administration for its service.

Partisan judge elections in NC have gone all bizarre in the past

MidLaw has sought to be clear about it. Partisan elections of judges is not a good idea.

North Carolina Supreme Court

For a mild-mannered, fence-sitting blog, MidLaw spoke pretty straightforwardly to the point several years ago. It said, “Partisan election of judges has led to assassination plots, cannibals & pirates in NC courts.” To be clearer, I suppose MidLaw might have added, “and, therefore, partisan elections are not good policy.”

Well, somebody was not listening. A bill has been introduced in our General Assembly that would amend the North Carolina Constitution to cut terms of office for all justices and judges to two years. Every two years every judge would be forced to stand for re-election in a partisan election.

Very quickly, North Carolina’s Chief Justice Mark Martin opposed this bill. He said:

Nowhere in America do voters elect their general jurisdiction judges for two-year terms of office. This is as it should be. Electing judges for two-year terms would force judges to campaign and raise money constantly, and would disrupt the administration of justice.

Judicial terms of office are longer than executive and legislative terms of office because judges have a different function. Judges are accountable, first and foremost, to the federal and state constitutions and to the law. They apply the law uniformly, and equal justice under law is the ultimate goal of any court system.

Just as quickly, former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, characterized the bill as

“just wrong”

“an effort to intimidate the judiciary” and

“fundamentally a bad policy.”

Neither Chief Justice Martin nor Justice Orr played the cannibalism card. But maybe they made the point better without that.

The separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and the authority of judges to nullify unconstitutional legislation are bedrock principles of American democracy — and North Carolina no less is where those ideas were born.

Separation of powers: good. Independent, merit-selected judges: good. Frequent, partisan elections of judges: not good.

Guilford College facing acutest issues of social change in forthright, creative ways

Interesting to see how Guilford College President Jane Fernandes’ most recent post at her blog, Jane’s Friendly View, “What #metoo Compels Us to Do” parallels the core theme of Guilford creative writing professor Mylène Dressler’s new novel, The Last to See Me.

To victims of sexual assault and harassment, Jane says “We see you. We understand you. You are real.” Professor Dressler comes at the same thing in a ghost story.

I’m pretty sure the two did not coordinate what they have done. (That would be a conspiracy, wouldn’t it?)

Since 1837, the Guilford College community is always wrestling with the acutest social issues of the times. Always learning. Always creative. Always facing forward.

Hot new book from crackerjack Guilford College novelist

Greensboro author and ace Guilford College professor, Mylène Dressler, who is the Director of Guilford’s Sherwood Anderson Creative Writing Scholarship Progam, has a new book out. The Last to See Me. It’s a good one, a ghost story.

Ghosts, one of her characters says, are

[l]ike those waves out there hitting on the beach. Again and again and again. Unsettled souls are like that. They don’t release emotion the way that we do. If they did, we’d have to say they were still living. We can try to imagine what they’re feeling, but we can’t really do it. Because they are what they are, and we are what we are. The charge isn’t life. The charge is all that’s left.

Professor Dressler says that her book is about “work, class, and justice, and what it means to be visible or invisible in history.”

The story is set on the West Coast and it is indeed about justice and class, and unreleased emotion, and invisibility in history. But those are themes that are not limited to the West Coast. They come up in almost every place where there’s a past. In M. Dressler’s telling though, there’s also this woman whose face is gone from being underground.

It pops at the end. (The story, not the face.)

I got me a copy of The Last to See Me. You should too.