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 »

             Words mean in complicated ways, but they do mean, and this gets important when words come from people with power.

            In a difficult case and with a 4-3 split, theRead full post »

AUGUST 24, 2014 7:28PM

"Food Porn" Sequel: Food Erotica

            I have written already on "Food Porn" TV commercials and won't push that point, or at least not here. I will also continue to ignore all the cooking shoes on TV, but I do want to update the point with this much on movies: food eroticaRead full post »

    When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted,

and at the sound of the trumpet,

when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed;

so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

TheyRead full post »

AUGUST 16, 2014 5:52PM

ISIS and the Fall of Rome: A Parable


            The Christian God won out over those of ancient Rome for many reasons, but most basically because there were significant numbers of people in the Empire who were "frustrated" in Eric Hoffer's definition in The True Believer (1Read full post »

AUGUST 13, 2014 12:20AM

"Squeamishness" Again

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceivedRead full post »

            One day early in my career as an English teacher, a student at a tutorial on his essay said to me, "You know, for a guy so far Left in politics, you're a real conservative when it comes to grammar." I asserted in mostly mock indignatiRead full post »

AUGUST 10, 2014 3:34PM

Still Nobody Special


            I just returned from some travels and have been reinforced in my views that I am nobody special, but, also, so are most people — both human people and corporate people, as in "Corporations are people, my friend."

 Read full post »

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 »