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 »

OCTOBER 30, 2014 12:49AM

About that Second Amendment ....

What TV news I watch is from an elliptical trainer, and I work hard to avoid commercials — every time you listen to a commercial the hucksters win — so I skip channels a bit and set the TV to mute fairly often and listen to an audio book. So… Read full post »

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


I'm beyond ambivalent on hydraulic fracturing — fracking — so let's say I'm "multivalent" and strongly conflicted.


            * Fracking has contributed to what is, as IRead full post »

OCTOBER 23, 2014 6:18PM

Frat Boys, Jocks, and Deprecation (2)

            The immediate occasion for this post isn't immediate at all, but an old memory coming back from early in my teaching career, a memory that sent me down a thread of others.

            I have no ideaRead full post »

Holly Blumhardt, a mother of three unvaccinated children (two of them
attend Orange County public school), said
her family believes in staying healthy "from the inside out."

In her view, that means taking vitamin and mineral supplements, steering clear of genetically modified foods, getting re/
Read full post »

The Official Voter Information Guide for the California General Election of 4 November 2014 labels our Proposition 46 as an Initiative Statute on "Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors [... and] Medical Negligence Lawsuits." As summarized in an LA Times "No on Proposition 46" editorial, it also "would… Read full post »

            I've recently sent in a contribution for HIV/AIDS research, and, when contacted, I contribute to the local group that helps poor women get breast cancer screenings; and once a year or so I contribute to research on prostate cancer. Th/… Read full post »

The invitation came as a surprise but a very welcome surprise: an offer to contribute an essay to a publication of The Modern Language Association, the publishers of PMLA, arguably the premiere journal in literary studies.

I was invited to submit an essay for consideration in the MLA volume on Teachi… Read full post »

"No enemies on the Left." — Slogan from late 1930's Popular Front

 "There's clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am [...] — "Stuck in the Middle"


            Back during the American Troubles of what IRead full post »

            Under the headline "Job picture confounds analysts," my local newspaper ran an Associated Press column by Christopher S. Rugaber that raised the question "Why aren't companies filling more of their openings," and the probably relatedRead full post »

From the California Legislative Counsel’s Digest of California Senate Bill 967 (2013/14) — now law:Read full post »

The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase, 

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, 

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,

Then how should I

Read full post »

In 2003, Eric Alterman published a book titled with the rhetorical question, What Liberal Media? His subtitle was (and remains), "The Truth About Bias and the News," and his topic was the news media. Still, the point holds far beyond the news: "the media" as a large set are certianly not LeftistRead full post »

Quick (loaded) thought experiment: Would you sign a form that allowed your kid's school (grades 6 through 12) to handle just about all discipline cases in-school, even if that risked your kid's being paddled, or would you sign a form that says your child will be assured strict due process under… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 4:49PM

Existential Threats

            An existential threat to the human species is a large-ish asteroid or middling-size comet hitting the Earth, or a mega-super-volcanic event — a Yellowstone eruption, say, as the start of a series of super eruptions — or aRead full post »

            With all due respect to Graham Nash, the various Occupy Movements, The World Social Forum, the New Left, and, what the hell, most Left and Left-ish movements back to the Bolsheviks, and most Right-Wing movements, too — compared and contrasted withRead full post »

 "When the banner unfurls, all reason is in the trumpet." — Ukrainian Proverb


            This is an initial response to what I think I heard on NPR this morning, Sunday, 14 September 2014, and to some quotations from UK PM Davi/Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2014 11:32PM

History Lesson: Judgment Day Plus Ten


"The past is never dead. It's not even past.”
William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun


Looking back upon the Apocalypse,

Warming our hands as the last books flame,

We play again our nightly game

Of whom, precisely, we should blame.… Read full post »

             Some Australians joke that the British government sent Australia their felons and North America the Puritans — and Australia got the better deal. Those Ausies have a point certainly this far: the American Puritan heritageRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 9:25PM

Words Mean (Yet Again: Sept. 2014)

[…] Still harping on my daughter:
[…] I'll speak to him again.—What do you read, my lord?

Words, words, words.

What is the matter, my lord?

Between who? (Hamlet 2.2.191-94)


        &Read full post »

"our courteous Antony,

Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak"

— His aide and friend Enobarbus on Mark Antony,

in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra


            I think most of my readers will agree with the formula, "No/Read full post »