Monthly Archives: October 2017

“Because Pi is everywhere”

At his memorial service on Saturday, my old friend and distant cousin Bayard Storey was eulogized for both his scientific accomplishments and his political activism. Here’s a hint about the connection: Dr. Storey was Professor Emeritus of Reproductive Biology at the University of Pennsylvania – and precisely because he understood the science of reproduction so […]

Breaking the silence

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Joseph N. Welch to Senator Joe McCarthy, June 9th, 1954 “When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?’” Senator Jeff Flake, October 24th, 2017 Sometimes […]

The real cost of hush money

$32 million is a troubling amount of money. That’s how much Lis Wiehl was paid to keep silent about her allegations of sexual harassment by Bill O’Reilly, including a “nonconsensual sexual relationship,” which seems a euphemism for rape. That brings to $45 million the amount paid to O’Reilly’s victims – and almost $100 million paid […]

O Say Can We See Through the Demagoguery

Chris Long will be working for nothing this year. The 6’3” 270-pound defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles said this week that he’s donating his next 10 weeks’ salary to increasing educational opportunities for underserved kids in the three cities where he has played professional football. Earlier he had given his first six weeks’ pay […]

This land is not your land

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Robert Frost, The Death of the Hired Man Not if you’re a Rohingya. “Everyone has the right to a nationality.” Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Unless you happen to be a Rohingya. The roughly 1.2 million […]

“I’m Bob Corker”

“If Bob Corker had any honor or decency,” Steve Bannon told Sean Hannity, “he should resign immediately.” There’s a scene in the movie “Spartacus” (1960) in which the slaves who survived their failed uprising are held under heavy guard and a Roman officer announces, “Your lives are to be spared . . . on the single condition […]

Not with a bang but a twitter

This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper twitter            (apologies to T.S. Eliot) “Trump’s myopic impulse to counterpunch whenever he feels attacked caused him to lose another news cycle and will overshadow an immigration proposal that the White House planned to talk about today,” James Hohmann, Washington Post (Oct. […]

Stumble of the Week

An occasional regular Friday feature. This one’s too easy, as we watch the resolutely anti-abortion, family-values Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) stumble toward the Rotunda steps and out the Capitol door following revelations that he had urged his mistress to get an abortion. It turns out she wasn’t pregnant. But you can’t be too careful, especially […]

Blogging in a time of horror

The aim of these blogs is to present short essays that will give you an idea to consider, if only fleetingly, much like Robert Frost’s belief that a poem could be “a momentary stay against confusion.” So perhaps they’re not equipped to deal with a tragedy of the proportions of Sunday’s massacre in Las Vegas, […]