“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, […]

Sleeping with the Olympic bomber (Part 3)

Part 2: Shortly before dawn I heard, next to me, a click, which I recognized from my days in military intelligence as the unmistakable sound of a clip being loaded into an automatic pistol. So you can imagine my relief when the subdued strains of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring drifted over from the cassette player […]

Thank you for your service, Senator McCain

I dialed Susan Collins’ Bangor office number several times yesterday, and the line was always busy, which I took as a hopeful sign, although I was, and remain, apprehensive. I was calling to thank Sen. Collins once again for her courage in voting against the last Republican effort to repeal Obamacare and to say I […]

Sleeping with the Olympic Bomber (Part 1)

Rereading A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson’s riotous account of hiking the Appalachian Trail with the delightfully curmudgeonly Katz, made me think of two things: How little humor there seems to be out there these days – in the public sphere, on college campuses, among newspaper opinion writers – and how much I miss […]

Sept. 16, 1963, a bomb explodes in Birmingham

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,” W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903) Two strong voices – those of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Bryan Stevenson – insist that DuBois’ observation endures because we have refused to confront it. In “The First White President,” Coates assails the notion that working-class […]

A narrow trail lovingly made

A new trail begins just west of Little Long Pond on the Mt. Desert Land & Garden Preserve, which consists of 1,165 acres abutting Acadia National Park. The Richard Trail is named for Richard Rockefeller, a doctor who for years chaired the advisory board of Doctors Without Borders and died when the plane he was […]