Category Politics/Culture

“Bill Russell: Legend”…The Title Says It All (Unfortunately)

I suspect all artists are as bedeviled by what to leave out of a work as by what to include. The canvas, score or page is only so large, and though one could theoretically keep writing a piece of music or prose without end (until death parts you from it), no sane person would try to keep listening or reading.

But truly, to begin a creative work is often to be overflowing with potential material and overwhelmed by how to shape and contain it.

You have to be careful it doesn’t sprawl all over whatever medium you’re using with either too much material or, in a slight twist on that theme, too much material of one kind at the expense of perhaps more relevant or interesting or even essential material of another kind.

It is the latter occurrence that can leave audience members with more questions at the end of a creative work than they had at the beginning...

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Tyre Nichols and the Tangled Thicket of Genes, Race, and Responsibility

Scientists have told us we share somewhere between 44-60% of our genes with fruit flies, 92% with mice and 98+% with chimpanzees. As for the 8 billion humans currently trodding the earth wearing skins identified as various shades of white, black, brown and more, speaking a dizzying array of languages with customs, clothes, mores and cultures vastly different from one another, the genetics tell a very different story than all those surface differences might suggest.

According to the National Human Genome Institute, “All human beings are 99.9% identical in their genetic makeup.” 

But oh, the woes and travails that 0.1% has visited upon us for the past couple of hundred thousand years!

These musings have come to mind repeatedly when reading the voluminous commentary on yet another heartless and brutal killing of a black man at the hands of police last week.

He’d rescued the mutt from the streets of Mexico, d...

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Battered, Bruised, and…Resilient? The U.S. Constitution’s Very Good Year

Given the overt, in-its-face and over-the-ramparts challenges the Constitution of the United States faced from January 6 onwards, any pundits envisioning a positive year for it would likely have been jeered right off their microphone or desk chair.

But perhaps we should look at this through an entirely different lens. Or perhaps, given the events of recent months, we might finally be able to do so.

It’s not that the Constitution wasn’t put under severe stress and strain in 2022 (and for several years before that, actually). After all, it doesn’t get much more overt than a full-scale, violent assault on the U.S Capitol with the intent to overturn our most sacred ritual of free and fair elections.

More overt still: a direct call last week from the recently deposed president to simply do away with the Constitution and all other “rules, regulations and articles” that might prevent him from being reinst...

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Why We the People of the United States Must Prosecute Donald Trump

There’s an old half curse/half blessing of unknown origin that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” I was reminded of it the other day while doing some mental wool gathering of my own “times” spanning the second half of the 20th century through nearly a quarter of the 21st. And I was of course thinking, well, they certainly have not been short of interest.

Then I started mentally ticking off some of the notable, dramatic events most readily presenting themselves for consideration. (I should note that this list— stricktly my own, yours might be different—is limited to the crises that most stood out and challenged the very foundation and identity of our nation; many momentous events occurred of a far more positive hue, but that’s another blog post…)

First: the stamping upon the world’s consciousness of the true reach of the atomic age as schoolchildren (I was one of them) dove under desks in regula...

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Squeezing the “Tao Te Ching” Into a Jam-Packed Week

All right, so that is a little joke in the headline, yes? Need I explain it? The ancient Chinese text emphasizing peace, stillness, patience, emptying the Self, the unity of opposites, being rather than doing, or at least being completely there in the doing? Squeezing that into one’s week?

Funny, maybe a little bit? Tiny smile?

I laugh in order not to cry. Or rage.

Dear Tao, help me in my laughter.

It is the tail end of a week that has seen renewedly breathtaking revelations of an ex-president’s overt and relentless attempt at a coup, followed by rapid-fire Supreme Court decisions that on successive days 1) declared open season on gun violence victims by approving open carry across all 50 states of our union, and 2) ruled on a case that will amount to the outlawing of all abortions in probably half the United States almost immediately.

The devastating symbolism of the court’s one-two punch: force women to...

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