Back to Basics #82

             In a way this post supplements my rather insistent request for some apologies from the late 20th-century "Lefter-than-Thou" Left, this time adding in some issues of pretty much just style.

   Read full post »

It's significant that in deciding what's being called The Hobby-Lobby Case the Supreme Court of the United States found, in the words of Justice Samuel Alito, that "The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive me… Read full post »

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014) came out several days ago, and I hesitated to go see it since it looked like a real downer. I went, though, since I  respected the 2011 RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and DAWN got mostly good reviews, including a solidly-argued… Read full post »

 Just as you do not know how the lifebreath passes into the limbs

within the womb of the pregnant woman,

so you cannot foresee the actions of God […].  

— Koheleth (Ecclesiastes 11.5, Tanakh)


            Behind/Read full post »

      In a moment of candor, an official of the Alumni Association or U of I Foundation or other money-raising activity of the Univsersity of Illinois told me that soliciting people like me — nonrich people — barely repaid the effort. We were solicited, persistent… Read full post »


"I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that - and I look at the homosexual issue the same way." — Gov. Rick Perry, 11 June 2014


"Rale is... the right thing/… Read full post »

Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doingRead full post »

        Some folks in the local media out here in the West (and elsewhere) have viewed with alarm the last century and more of a rising percentage of deaths among American young people stemming from violence. Well, Bill Maher and other knockers of vaccination and in… Read full post »

      It looks like I have a Spam-bot of some sort either buried so deep on my computer that my virus scans can't get at it — or them — or some similar bit of milicious mischief is on my account with Miami University, which their highly competent IT people haven't… Read full post »

Cannibalism was reported by Flavius Josephus during the siege of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD, and according to Appian, the population of Numantia during the Roman Siege of Numantia in the 2nd century BC was reduced to cannibalism and suicide.


        &nbsRead full post »

CONTEXT: Atlantic on line column, "Rage Against the Outrage Machine," by Conor Friedersdorf, 23 June 2014, "The most searing critiques of George Will's much-maligned column on rape misrepresent his arguments, illustrating a common flaw in American public discourse."


I threw in in two points to… Read full post »

The aide [Karl Rove] said that guys like me [reporter Ron Suskind] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and em
Read full post »

My local newspaper ended the editorial for 16 June 2014 with, "Its not beyond imagination that the United States could find itself working with Iran to restore stability to Iraq and tame a poisonously radical government [based in ISIS: "the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"]. War, even more than polit… Read full post »

The background here is my teaching Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange at a university with a high percentage of conservative Catholic students, leavened with a fair number of born-again sorts who'd say things like (this is an actual quotation, from a very nice guy), "Well, I used to be Cathol… Read full post »


            It was my pleasure in late May of 2014 to see my great/grand-niece graduate Deerfield High School, in one of the more education-friendly of the Chicago suburbs. I was however, less than gleeful at attending another graduationRead full post »

JUNE 9, 2014 6:52PM



            It was some time during the 1980s: after 4 July 1982, when I earned my certification as an open-water scuba diver, and before November 1986, when the Iran-Contra affair became national news and few would joke about US actionsRead full post »

 Short People got no reason
To live — Randy Newman

           The only time I was openly discriminated against, it was discrimination on the basis of height.

            From adolescen/Read full post »


            Before teaching my first course in College Composition, I had been thinking about teaching for a while (my most likely alternative to teaching was a brief but exciting career as a tunnel rat for the US Army in Vietnam), and myRead full post »

     I once asserted strongly — indeed, threatened to participate in a lawsuit to ensure — the right to annoy people.

      The context was the George McGovern vs. Richard Nixon 1972 campaign for US President in the 8th Congressional District of Ohio, running… Read full post »

Tell me again why it's more progressive and child-friendly to have troublesome school kids arrested and sent to court than to give them detention and/or a suspension and/or swats ....

School disciplinary systems were often arbitrary, cruel, unfair, and unjust, with little due process and respect for… Read full post »

Jon Stewart is something of a hero to me, so I was struck on the couple of occasions I've had a complaint about his on-air conduct. The first one I've discussed: Stewart's partly serious mocking of the new mayor of New York City for eating pizza with a knife and fork,… Read full post »

MAY 11, 2014 1:21AM

Trigger Warnings

I've been thinking about "trigger warnings."

I was thinking about them today especially, since I just saw the movie NEIGHBORS (2014) and thought a couple of times before it was over that it should come with, "CAUTION: The sex and nudity that earned so much of this movie's 'R' rating… Read full post »

MAY 7, 2014 8:30PM

"Senseless Violence" (again)

         On May 7, the editorial board of the my local newspaperargued that "Street Violence [in Oxnard, CA] calls for more positive moves." I have a suggestion here.

            The editorial refers to "Read full post »

This much on the early May 2014 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States allowing specifically Christian prayers to open town meetings:

     First, I'd like to be the 215th Bible-educated liberal to quote this hour Jesus's injunction to pray in private, to wit: “An… Read full post »

This is the Court of Chancery, […] which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give--whoRead full post »