Statues of limitations: which stay, which go

When the statue of Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, it was easy to join the chorus of cheers. He was a repressive tyrant who killed an estimated 250,000 of his own people. Easy, too, was the destruction of statues of Communist dictator Joseph Stalin, responsible for the deaths of millions of Russians …

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Looking for the Best on July 4th

Politics isn't everything. On a holiday like July 4th, celebrating our nation's independence and its brilliant founding documents, it is tempting to recount the myriad ways that our President has trampled on the promises made therein. Unsparingly, he sucks the joy out of our lives, most recently yesterday at Mt. Rushmore standing before the greats …

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Books to consider in flight from viral infection

During our sheltering from the COVID-19 virus, reading can provide a meaningful escape from the constant hand washing, planning our grocery orders and listening to the news. The following are some of my recent immersions in fiction and non-fiction. FICTION An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is an extraordinary novel about an upwardly mobile young …

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COVID-19 crisis: silver linings and rot at the top

There are so many good things that are happening as we adjust to the scary new normal of hunkering down, staying at home.  But every time I listen to the President at a White House COVID-19 task force press conference I am simultaneously repelled and outraged, and the good things happening on the ground slip …

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An infectious disease expert speaks: worth a listen

My last blog warned about the need to separate reliable COVID-19 information from misinformation, whether intentional or unintentional,  and rumor. Last week an esteemed British scientist passed on a podcast to my brother-in-law, who shared it with me.  I vetted it as best I could and now share it with my readers. Joe Rogan is …

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Beware coronavirus misinformation, well-intentioned or not

Everyone has an opinion on how serious is the WHO-identified pandemic coronavirus.  Many share guidance on how to deal with it. Far fewer share evidence-based science. Disturbing though it may be, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at how much our assessments divide on partisan lines. According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll: unease is strongly …

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Headlines to look for in 2020

2020 vision gives us clarity to see the world around us. 2020 hindsight is a way of understanding where we got it wrong in the past.  Today, my New Year's gift to you is a list of headlines I hope to see in 2020. Some are the triumph of hope over experience. Some are aspirational …

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Books to consider, pt. 3 – more fiction

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. The author of The Underground Railroad has done it again, this time with a story of a prison-like reform school in Florida.  Worse-than-Dickensian abuse occurred throughout this narrative, based on the real-life revelation five years ago about the Dozier School for Boys in the Florida panhandle town of Marianna.  …

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Books to consider, pt. 1 – non-fiction

The hammering from daily political news has kept me away from devouring my normal quota of books on contemporary politics.  If you too are on overload, here are some non-fiction alternatives I've recently enjoyed. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey  by Candace Millard, published in 2006, was loaned to me by thoughtful neighbors …

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Learning from history – again

Philosopher George Santayana famously said in 1905 that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Winston Churchill liked the lesson so well that 43 years later he intoned, "Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it." Either wording, we get the idea.  Would that Donald Trump were as …

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