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Opinion | Richard North Patterson: Mike Pence and the rise of mediocrity – The Boston Globe

A NEBRASKA SENATOR once said of a Supreme Court nominee, “So what if he’s mediocre? [The mediocre] are entitled to a little representation.” But in Mike Pence mediocrity is overrepresented. Not even Donald Trump commends this intellectually blinkered, right-wing provincial as America’s Savior.

He began as a talk show host in 1994 in small-town Indiana, fulminating about the global warming “myth,” the perfidy of Washington, and the verities of an evangelical Christianity menaced by cosmopolites. Piety swiftly merged with pragmatism: ambitious for office, Pence learned what worked — an antichoice, antigay agenda served up with reckless rhetoric couched in a pose of rectitude. He informed his audience that Clarence Thomas was being “lynched,” and that “despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” A quarter-century later, Pence remains as small as his beginnings.

The flexibility of his conscience surfaced in his first race for Congress. He used campaign funds to pay for his mortgage, car, credit card, golf, and groceries. To smear his opponent, he sent a mailer depicting lines of cocaine; ran an ad portraying an Arab sheik; and spread a story that the Democrat was selling his farm to a nuclear waste facility. Only after losing, did Pence deploy an ostentatious show of guilt.

Once in Congress, he joined the Tea Party and displayed a rigid intolerance for anything outside the crabbed confines of evangelical conservatism. He attacked sex education and reproductive choice with the zeal of Savonarola, decrying stem cell research, the use of condoms to prevent STDs, and organizations whose services included abortion. To further this agenda, he proposed changing the definition of rape to “forcible rape” and shutting down the government as a tactic to defund Planned Parenthood.

Brexit: Food prices rose at fastest rate for more than three years in March | The Independent

Food prices rose at their fastest pace for more than three years in March as retailers passed on surging costs from the Brexit-hit pound and global commodity hikes, new figures have shown. Food inflation hit 1 per cent year-on-year last month, the sharpest rise since February 2014 and marking the second month in a row of rising prices, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

‘The Moon After Election Day’ a poem by Alex Dimitrov

‘The Moon After Election Day’

I’m looking at the moon tonight,
the closest it’s been to Earth since 1948
and feel relieved we can do little to ruin it.
That can’t be true, you say, and for a moment
even the moon’s loneliness escapes isolation
and depends on something else. It’s attached.
Like us and what we abandon. Us
and the evil we refuse. The same evil
we share history with, the thin membrane
between you or me and the worst of life.
It’s already past midnight and another election
is over in the United States of America.
The oceans will not continue into infinity.
Nor will our money. Nor will this suffering.
We have voted and proven again
we do not know one another. I am trying
so hard to understand this country, I tell you
even as I’m about to fail loving you (I know this)
in the way people need to be loved
which is without deception, which is almost
impossible. Don’t you love it though, you say,
and I remember the first time I saw you in a room
without anyone else. Don’t you love the moon?
And because it’s easy to say it, I do, I make sure
to tell you I do. Despite the news I knew years ago:
no one saves anyone. We’re on the moon.
-Alex Dimitrov