Charleston and Empathy

I feel that I need to say something about the act of domestic terrorism that happened in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday evening. I use the term “domestic terrorism” deliberately. A man went into a church, sat with twelve people for an hour, and murdered nine of them, reloading his weapon, according to a surviving witness,Continue reading “Charleston and Empathy”

The Senate Intelligence Committee and Its Torture Report

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA’s torture of prisoners in the “war on terror” was released today. We’re far past the euphemisms that have been used for years — we didn’t subject people to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” No, we tortured people. Torturing people didn’t produce the results that we wanted. Torturing people didn’t produceContinue reading “The Senate Intelligence Committee and Its Torture Report”

Brittany Maynard and the End of Life Conversation

I hadn’t heard of Brittany Maynard until about three weeks ago. I was at the grocery store, standing in the checkout line, and there, on the cover of People, was a lovely young woman and the headline, “Inside her controversial choice to end her life” (or words to that effect). When I got home andContinue reading “Brittany Maynard and the End of Life Conversation”

On a Tragic and Unnecessary Death in Ireland

I’ve been pondering this since yesterday. A woman in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar, began to miscarry her child. She asked for an abortion but the hospital refused. Several times over a period of days while she suffered in pain.. Ultimately, the body expelled the dead fetus, but Ms. Halappanavar now had blood poisoning and she died.Continue reading “On a Tragic and Unnecessary Death in Ireland”

On Leesburg’s Christmas Controversy

This morning, I ventured out to the Post Office. I had to mail some packages for Christmas, and I wanted to get my Christmas cards in the mail. I thought about going into Randallstown, but they have a small, difficult-to-navigate parking lot. Eldersburg, I decided, would be easier to get to. I expected, since itContinue reading “On Leesburg’s Christmas Controversy”

On Osama bin Laden and Indifference

Like many people, I got up this morning, checked the news websites, and saw that something world-changing happened overnight. Osama bin Laden was dead. And I was utterly indifferent to it. Oh, I read articles on a half-dozen sites, from straight news to instant commentary. And I coudln’t really make myself care. I thought brieflyContinue reading “On Osama bin Laden and Indifference”

On Bahrain and the Arab Revolutions

I saw something today I can’t unsee. Like the revolutions that swept across Egypt that brought down Hosni Mubarak and the revolution in Libya that threatens Gaddafi, Bahrain is in revolt, and their neighbor Saudi Arabia has invaded the country to suppress the protests. The crackdown of the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain has turned brutallyContinue reading “On Bahrain and the Arab Revolutions”

On Barack Obama’s Religion

Wasn’t it P.T. Barnum who said that “You’ll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public?” That’s how I felt this morning, when I heard NPR’s story on a just-released Pew Research poll that indicates that a growing percentage of Americans — now 1 in 5 — believe that President Obama is, inContinue reading “On Barack Obama’s Religion”