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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Time flies

While retrieving my passport from the lock box, I flipped through all my old passports. There are five passports altogether. It was in April 1984, I was reminded, that I made my first trip to the United Kingdom, including my first trip to Scotland. What a trip that was! At the time, I had a […]

Catholicism in Ireland, R.I.P.

Saint Patrick, Wikipedia One of the newspapers that I check each morning is the Irish Times. Today’s paper has a very fine essay by Fintan O’Toole. It’s an obituary for Catholicism in Ireland: It’s too late. Not even Pope Francis can resurrect Catholic Ireland Catholicism in Ireland had a long run — from the 5th […]

Loyalty vs. justice

Matthew Trudeau Photography via Wikipedia Regular readers here know that I find Jonathan Haidt’s “moral foundations theory” a very useful tool for understanding the minds of conservatives vs. the minds of liberals. However, I part company with Haidt when Haidt asserts that the moral foundations of conservatives and the moral foundations of liberals are equally […]

A simple case study: How propaganda works

There are very few exceptions: Right-wingers and the Republican Party cannot win elections or have their way without lying and cheating. Without a sophisticated propaganda system (and, increasingly under Trumpism, the demonization of the responsible media), the right wing would be exposed as what it truly is: A radical minority with a highly unpopular agenda, […]

Environmental justice: The people fight back

Al Gore This is a rather long photo essay. I hope you’ll bear with me. People sometimes ask me why I choose to live in a rural and seemingly backward place like Stokes County, North Carolina, after 18 years in an urbane place like San Francisco. Stokes is a poor county in the foothills of […]

You can’t have too much abelia

The bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies would agree: You can’t have too much abelia. Abelia shrubs bloom almost all summer long. There are thousands of little dime-size blooms. Abelia is an old-fashioned and out-of-style relative of honeysuckle, though it’s not as fragrant, and (thank goodness) it doesn’t climb. This abelia bush, now nine years old, stands […]

If only we had more of these

My guess would be that there are very few stiles remaining in America, though I also would guess that there were never that many in the first place, except possibly in New England. Most Americans probably don’t even know the word. Even I, born and raised a country person with roots in the Appalachian Highlands, […]

Reviving Asimov’s Foundation series

I regularly search for promising new science fiction to read. It’s shocking how little I find — based, at least, on reviews and on-line lists. When I can’t find new science fiction, I return to the classics. At present, I’m rereading Isaac Asimov’s 1951 classic Foundation. Now is probably a good time to read (or […]