Category Politics/Culture

Only Republicans Can Save America Now

The temptation is to look away, if just for a while. After all we have been through—fire and flood, pestilence, wars gone wrong, the savage persistence of hunger and homelessness, the slaughter of children in school hallways, the huddled masses repelled at our border, the daily ravings of a would-be dictator who is neither gone nor forgotten—we can be excused for wanting to lose ourselves in the sudden turning of the season and its poems, the music of the heavens, the antics of children and kittens and clouds.

The quotidian as succor, relief, our very salvation.

But peril lies that way. The pernicious forces of evil that begat an insurrection with its *“foul spirit”* of extremism mere months ago still bestride our land, endlessly recounting a settled election, creating barriers to future voting, empowering partisan state legislatures to overturn elections at their pleasure.

These gathering clouds are n...

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Battling the Apocalypse Blues

On the very night that my beloved daughter was taking a red eye flight into New York City to attend a wedding this weekend, residents of that city were drowning in their basement apartments, being evacuated from flooded subways, and getting rescued from car rooftops by emergency responders boating through the streets.

All a result of yet more unprecedented extreme weather activity that was dumping more than 3 inches of rain per hour over the city at the storm’s peak.

The New York Times reports these additional

(Fortunately, my daughter was fine and enjoyed sunny, welcoming weather by the time she crossed the Brooklyn Bridge en route to her hotel.)

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In Texas, a recently approved law essentially outlawed ab...

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Brilliant Songs #24: Henryk Górecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”

As our 20-year nation-building project draws to a catastrophic close in Afghanistan, what do we have to show for it? It’s a painful question made all the more so by the lives of U.S. soldiers and civilians freshly lost in the terrible bombings on Thursday, not to mention the far greater number of Afghans who have paid, and will continue to do so long after our exit, with their lives and freedom for the brief window of semi-democracy both nations worked with such tenacity and treasure to provide for that beleaguered land.

All of it turning now, with near dizzying speed, to ash.

Questions, doubts and recriminations about both our long-running presence and chaotic exit from Afghanistan dominate our national conversation today, at least temporarily pushing the re-emerging horrors of the Covid pandemic out of the spotlight.

The entire symphony is a treasure, a voyage through sorrow and lyricism whose beauty par...

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The Global Retreat From Democracy

It was called, among other things, “the end of history,” which was to say, the ultimate triumph of the western liberal, market-based democratic ideal around the globe. The Berlin Wall had fallen in 1989 and communist control of Eastern Europe soon collapsed. The Soviet Union almost simultaneously embarked on a monumental breakup and independence for its constituent republics, soon holding its own democratic elections featuring a peaceful (and astounding) transfer of power in 1991.

Like a benevolent tsunami gathering up everything in its path, a loudly proclaimed optimism for a new world order made government watchers and freedom lovers (and capitalists) around the globe almost dizzy with anticipation.

Even South Africa and its brutal apartheid system, which nearly everyone agreed would inevitably require an epic bloodbath to finally root out, managed a peaceful transition to multi-party rule through ...

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About Those Swimming Moroccan Migrants

I’ve been trying to picture plunging into the ocean off the Moroccan coast and swimming to Spain in search of a job and a new country. What would you wear? A bathing suit? Bermuda shorts? Long pants with a belt and some proper underwear? A long-sleeve shirt, a T-shirt, no shirt? Barefoot, I assume? Or maybe old tennis shoes or some kind of water shoe?

What else, if anything, would you try to take with you?

Would you maybe tie a small hiker’s belt to your waist,  into which you place…what? What extra does one think to take along when swimming to a new world?

A spare shirt? Some prized family jewelry you hope to sell for a few euros once you wash ashore and evade the waiting soldiers?

Some sealed nuts or candy? A good-luck amulet? A toothbrush?

What would you take, besides the shirt on your back, assuming you are wearing one?

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In its annual migration report of January, 2020, the World Economic Foru...

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