A Blessing on Both Their Houses

July 29, 2014

Listeners and readers of my commentary know that I have spoken out against what I believe is Israeli misbehavior. So I get flooded with one-sided petitions condemning Israeli behavior. To make myself completely clear, I see merit and fault on both sides. I will not sign one-sided petitions.

I am reminded of my conversation with a Palestinian student who argued with me that Palestinians have the right to kill Israelis, any Israelis, military or civilian, and they have no right to shoot back, only to accept their fate. I questioned him to make sure I was hearing him accurately. What he was making clear was the attitude, or brain-washing, that dehumanized the other side. That is the attitude we have to fight against. Read the rest of this entry »

Intransigence – the Auto-immune Disease of Democracy

July 9, 2013

Obviously I’ve been following the news from Egypt like everyone else. You don’t need commentators to tell you that ousting a democratically elected government is undemocratic and unacceptable. But I want to talk about Morsi’s mistakes because they illustrate a major misunderstanding of democracy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations on the passage of the Gay Marriage legislation

June 28, 2011

First, I want to congratulate my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and students on the passage of the marriage equality legislation. It is high time they can normalize their lives in the myriad ways that the rest of us can, providing for each other, taking care of each other, and pledging their hearts to each other. Read the rest of this entry »

Backwaters are comforting, misleading, and very dangerous

August 24, 2010

There’s been a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment lately, expressed in English only laws, antipathy to a projected Islamic Cultural Center, and Arizona’s effort to enforce the immigration laws with a desert twist. Let’s focus today on fears of people who don’t speak English. Read the rest of this entry »

Islamic Cultural Center

August 24, 2010

I find the rhetoric about the Islamic Cultural Center scary. Read the rest of this entry »


August 3, 2010

More than two centuries ago, Jeremy Bentham explained the virtues of moderation. If you cut off people’s heads for the most minor infraction, you encourage the petty thief to kill. Read the rest of this entry »

Qualifications for Judicial Nominees

June 1, 2010

We have discussed on several occasions nominations of Supreme Court justices. Chief Justice Roberts famously compared the job of a justice to the job of an umpire calling balls and strikes. You stand behind the plate and if the ball travels inside that territory called the strike zone, it’s a strike; if not, it’s a ball. The strike zone is real and measurable, although baseball has chosen not to use high tech equipment to second guess the umps. Read the rest of this entry »

The Dangerous Game of All or Nothing

February 17, 2010

When the Republicans filibustered government to a standstill in the 90s, they took the hit for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Class Politics

September 29, 2009

When I was in college, I dated a young woman who used to express horror that if we stayed together we might actually have labor leaders for breakfast. She was expressing a class prejudice. Republicans could comfort themselves that they were the party of the captains of industry, the respectable business leaders, the country’s high society. Read the rest of this entry »

Chautauqua and Ted Kennedy

September 1, 2009

One of the things my wife and I did this summer was to spend a week visiting Chautauqua. In the far western corner of NY State, Chautauqua was formed a century and a quarter ago as a summer school for Protestant Sunday school teachers. Read the rest of this entry »


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