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A Time to Be Silent

I haven’t been able to write an essay for a while. I could call it an extended case of writer’s block, except that doesn’t explain very much. Who knows what blocks a writer? I could say I ran out of things to say, except that isn’t true. Just ask the classes I teach; they endure […]

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Confucius Says

If the leaders desire what is good, the people will become good also.  –Confucius Some people doubt if Confucianism is a religion.  Confucius never talked about a god; he didn’t discuss the afterlife.  His sole interest was establishing what he called The Mandate of Heaven upon the earth.  He envisioned a perfect society, without crime, […]

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The Death Problem

Death has a PR problem in our culture.  Americans tend to view death in a negative light, as something to escape.  We picture a dark, hooded figure, pointing its crooked finger toward another victim, gathering souls for judgment.  We isolate the dead behind fences, in holding pens for the dearly departed, and turn their disposal […]

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Coconut Island

Once upon a time there was an island.  On this island there was a group of people known as the Vespuccians.  They lived at relative peace with each other.  Like people everywhere, they had squabbles, but they were united in their love for one thing- coconuts.  They ate coconuts and wore coconuts.  They drank coconut […]

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And In This Corner. . .

Over the course of the next two weeks, we will be treated to the Republican and Democratic national conventions.  Political bloviation and professional hypocrisy will reach excruciating heights, and then we’ll elect a president nine weeks later.  Or maybe I should say the Electoral College will select one in December. Whoever chooses the guy, all […]

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This Essay Is Not For Sale, Unless You’re Paying With Money

One of the less recognized aspects of the American Revolution was its usefulness as a business venture.  The French, Russian, and Chinese revolutions were all revolts empowered by peasants, but that’s not true for the revolt that created the United States.  The American colonists were more affluent, on average, than the populace back in England, […]

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Is That A Gun Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

German police fired a total of 85 bullets in 2011.  49 were warning shots.  With the rest, 15 people were wounded and 6 killed by police countrywide for the entire year.  As a contrast, in the U.S. in 2011, 84 shots were fired by police at a single murder suspect in Harlem.  90 rounds were […]

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