Data Scrubbing Fears
Some librarians, civic groups, historians, and others have begun downloading federal websites for safekeeping, just in case the data on these sites disappears (The Seattle Times, March 12, 2017.) They are alarmed by certain actions of the Trump administration regarding federal data. They include: removal of animal cruelty data from the website of the U.S.… Read More »
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Where Are You When We Need You?
Remember Mister Rogers? Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on public television? Sometimes we laughed a bit at this gentle character who so quietly entered our homes and talked about feelings and helped children deal with fear and anger. “Look for the helpers. Look for the people who are helping” is a quote of his repeated often in… Read More »
Short Term Thinking Can Be Deadly
No doubt the new administration’s announcement of a hiring freeze for government employees is popular with many. It is to remain in effect, apparently, until the government workforce declines “sufficiently.” I was recruited to be a Foreign Service Officer by the U.S. Department of State in 1990 after an earlier hiring freeze was lifted. Part… Read More »
So What’s Wrong with Doubt?
In a thought provoking article, Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times, spoke with a Christian pastor, Timothy Keller: ( “Am I a Christian, Pastor Timothy Keller?” December 23, 2016). Keller makes the argument that faith and skepticism are not necessarily opposites. Reasoning can, and probably should be, a part of faith. He… Read More »
Don’t Drink the Water
In several less developed countries where I lived overseas, we had water systems of our own, not trusting the local supply. In another place, I would wake in the night and hear the guards making their nightly checks of our yard and gates. In other countries, we lived in guarded compounds. On the other hand,… Read More »
How to Stage a Coup in a Democracy
First, if a majority of people did not vote for you, proclaim that the election was tainted. Add that millions of those who voted against you were not Americans but illegal immigrants. Against all evidence, continue to make this claim Second, if some media reporting is critical of you, angrily denounce these critics as the… Read More »
Waiting for the Good Guys to Win
The biography Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill, by Sonia Purnell, reminds us of Britain’s dark times in early World War II, when the country stood alone against Hitler’s might. The book lists the number of European countries fallen under Nazi control at that time. France, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and Holland had been… Read More »
What Minority Do You Belong To?
Though hate crimes against American Muslims (or people perceived as such) have increased, recent news has focused on the increasing numbers of hate crimes against American Jews. David Harris Gershon, a writer for various publications, wrote an article in November, 2015, about American hatred of Muslims from the viewpoint of a Jewish American. Some of… Read More »
Why We Can’t Sleep at Night
Andrew Sullivan, in New York Magazine (Feb 10, 2017), explores the way politics has dominated American lives since the last presidential election. Then he contrasts normal life in the United States with a dictatorship. In a dictatorship, people are always anxious, waiting for the unasked next entry of the Great Leader into their lives in… Read More »
Those Presidential Orders? Don’t Forget Executive Order 9066
Seventy-five years ago (February 19, 1942), President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The order authorized the forced removal of 110,000 people of Japanese descent in the U.S. to incarceration camps away from their homes, places of work, and community activities. In an anniversary issue, The Seattle Times published pictures and copies of old news… Read More »
Sidney Chambers in The Forgiveness of Sins by James Runcie
The Forgiveness of Sins is the fourth book of the Grantchester mystery series. These stories are not suspense stories but quiet mysteries, involving more than solving a crime. They offer insight into problems of evil, sin, and redemption. Critics have compared the series to G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries. The main character of the Grantchester… Read More »
How To Kill Your Religion
Speaking of the political maelstrom that elected Donald Trump to the presidency, Russell D. Moore, a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote: “. . . the crisis comes from the fact that the old-guard religious right political establishment normalized an awful candidate . . .” (Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious… Read More »