“The past is never dead. It's not even past.”

— William Faulkner




            I heard it on National Public Radio — The DR Show for Friday 27 Feb. 2015 — so it must be true, right?

 &Read full post »

          As long as the old war hawks are recycling arguments from earlier eras, I'm going to recycle a counter-argument I made toward the end of January 2003, during the run-up to the Iraq War of March 2003 to 2011 (and counting). It's still relevant, unRead full post »

 I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say,

but I do not believe that the president loves America.

— Rudy Giuliani, Feb. 2015

Dear ex-Mayor Giuliani:

 If, at your age, you think that patriotic love is anRead full post »

"We’re taking God out of this country. They’re fighting for their God.

And all I can say is the person that has God on their side is gonna win this thing." —

            Hon. Michael Flanagan, MC, IL 5th Congressional Distri/Read full post »

Reference: Ann McFeatters column "Mike Huckabee: Right-wing huckster or serious candidate?" / Tribune News Service 12 February 2015


         In the midst of an excellent column on Mike Huckabee, Ann McFeatters mentionRead full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2015 12:05PM

Usage Note: "Adult Children"

My first thought at hearing the phrase "adult child" is, "If you raised an adult child, you failed as a parent." 

My second thought is that the first thought was at worst cruel, at best a bit unfair.  

        If your child has serious developmental problems… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 1, 2015 6:15PM

AMERICAN SNIPER: Cinematic Rorschach

            One totally clear thing about Clint Eastwood's American Sniper: It's a well done film, including (as a friend of mine noted) well done in overall gritty realism right down to truly admirable use of surround-sound for the battle sequenRead full post »

There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.

Some people prefer to believe that evil doesn't exist in the world,

and if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn't know how to protect themselves.

Those are the sheep.

Then you've got predators, whoRead full post »

            My very senior, senior associate in the movie biz — senior in experience, not in age — usually gives me a movie-related gift for the Solstice holidays, my favorite in this genre being Scarface boxer shorts. This last winter, though, he gave mRead full post »

JANUARY 25, 2015 5:37PM

Altruism: I'm Sort of Against It

[N]othing is so soon corrupted by power-seeking as altruism."

— Odo "The Day Before the Revolution"

"Since when was altruism an Odonian virtue?”

"I am no altruist!" — Shevek in

The Dispossessed (chs. 8, 11)


          &Read full post »

JANUARY 23, 2015 12:19AM

Zero Tuition: Who pays? Who profits?

            It's not a name you'd know, but he's important for the current debate on zero or low tuitions at community colleges, and for reducing tuition and fees at four-year colleges and universities.

          &nRead full post »

For the recently French-loving, First-Amendment-absolutist US Right-Wing sorts defending the divine right to blaspheme, I want to repeat a test: a classic limerick that might be familiar. It also might be objected to on grounds of obscenity as well as blasphemy, so I'll follow it with a version moreRead full post »


          On "The International Hour" of The Diane Rehm Show on NPR for Friday, 9 Jan. 2015, a French-American journalist recycled the old joke that everyone is welcome to live in France, and become White and Catholic.

   &nRead full post »

Je suis Charlie


 As one who has committed acts of satire as well as taught the Mode in literature and film (and as a life member of the ACLU), I stand in solidarity with CHARLIE HEBDO — but I’ll throw in these factoids for those in Christendom fond of theories… Read full post »

DECEMBER 25, 2014 9:02PM

Cold-Blooded Statistics (Again)

A 'For instance' is not a proof.


            Tying together some stories in the news at the end of 2014, from police shootings in the sense of police shooting "civilians" to police being shot, to "the campus rape crisis": We need to bring back theRead full post »

No more words, Thersites; peace!
I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?
— Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida 2.11



            WhenRead full post »

I'm a life member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and I own a legal copy of, and have taught the Parker and Stone movie TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE; and when THE INTERVIEW comes out in bootleg copy, I certainly hope to buy (at a reasonable price) a technically competent DVD.… Read full post »

The aide [Karl Rove ....] continued, "We're an empire now,
and when we act, we create our own reality." 

 Read full post »

"Portion control" —

A friend to his daughter, via e-mail,

sort of giving the secret of life


         I originally planned to do a rather formal, moderately scholarly essay on John Stuart Mill's "Principle of Liberty" from his monograph On LiberRead full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2014 11:28PM

Cyber Monday, 2014: Not Shopping on Line

            All things considered, I much prefer to be bribed than to be coerced, but, all things considered more, I really don't like either. I really don't like to act as merely a consumer, infected with "The Midas Plague"; I do not like to be manipulated.Read full post »

            I'm writing this during the new-model Advent we celebrate in the United States: the run-up to Christmas and Epiphany that begins just after Halloween. During this season of supercharged capitalist merchandizing, I wish to repeat some advice from one pouc/Read full post »

NOVEMBER 21, 2014 10:05PM

Fads, Flocks, and Fanaticism (1984)

Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia.

Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.

There was, of course, no admission that any change

had taken place. Merely it became known, with

extreme suddenness and everywhere at once,Read full post »

[In the USA], public four-year colleges have increased

tuition and fees by 4.2% annually for the past decade ….


            Back East from where I now live, in "The Heart of It All" in Oxford, Ohio, in John Boehner's Congression/Read full post »

"Where you stand depends on where you sit." — Rufus E. Miles, Jr. 

"The crisis in our political system is less about party than about horizon." 

Eugene Robinson


         In a column that came out just before the US 2014 midterm elections,Read full post »

            I entered the Ed Biz in the late 1960s in large part because the government of the United States made me an offer that was difficult to refuse: I could be a teacher somewhere in the USA or (most likely given my size) tunnel rat withRead full post »