Wednesday September 17, 2014
August 14th, 2014
When the news rippled out on Monday that Robin Williams had committed suicide, even I thought -- for a moment -- "but he had everything." As if suicide is a "choice."
I say "even I" because I know better. My mother was seriously depressed for much of her life. A close friend's husband committed suicide years ago, and he had everything, too. Then there was our neighbor's son, whom I babysat for -- I heard it was a psychotic break.
It is the very essence of the American Dream: an irrepressible confidence that our children will live better than we do.
And now it is gone.
It has been slipping for some time, really, but a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll this month put an exclamation point on Americans' lost optimism.
Sitting on a deck chair on the family-friendly boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, typing into my digital tablet, I am wondering why people are giving President Obama such a hard time for taking a vacation.
I can understand why citizens would be upset if, say, a big-city mayor didn't rush home from a tropical paradise to oversee reaction to a mid-winter blizzard.
What use could the humanities be in a digital age?
University students focusing on the humanities may end up, at least in their parents' nightmares, as dog-walkers for those majoring in computer science. But, for me, the humanities are not only relevant but also give us a toolbox to think seriously about ourselves and the world.
Recently a friend posted a video on Facebook that he asserted would demolish the Godless theory of evolution. On it, a fellow sitting in a pickup and wearing a backward baseball cap smugly explained that Darwinian evolution contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics, a fundamental principle of physics.
I figured the Texas lineup of Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry, and a carnival sideshow of far-right Congress critters assured my state the glory of being the hands-down winner of the 2014 blue-ribbon prize for “Goofiest Politicos in America.”
But now, a former winner has surged from obscurity to become the frontrunner. Yes, folks, Sarah Palin is back.
In the flurry of new books on the Nixon tapes, another allegation worse than Watergate against the late president has been revisited by a researcher at the Miller Center of the University of Virginia, reviving charges of a possible treasonous act by Richard Nixon during the Vietnam war.
In Texas, a private company wants to build a bullet train joining Dallas and Houston. In California, the state is raising its own billions to create a very fast ride between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Two very different ways to fund high-speed rail, but they have one thing in common. They bypass the thousand-car pileup that is Washington politics.
Well, let's hope that's over.
President Barack Obama was in Martha's Vineyard, playing golf. Hillary Clinton arrived, ready to sign books. They were headed for the same birthday party where, a Clinton aide said, they intended to "hug it out." Peace was declared. Extraordinary! You would think they were both professional politicians.
The name is New Belgium, and if you’re a beer drinker, most likely you are familiar. It started 23 years ago in Jeff Lebesch’s basement in Fort Collins, Colo. Now, with Fat Tire its most popular label, it’s the nation’s eighth-largest brewery.
It’s also one of the most socially responsible corporations in America.