We have a legal showdown underway in Oregon that has implications across this battered republic. On Monday, a judge in Baker County, Oregon, acting on a case brought by faith groups, invalidated the restrictions on businesses and social gatherings imposed under Governor Kate Brown’s emergency actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, dating back to March. Judge Matt […]
Governments don’t live together, people live together. With governments you don’t always get a fair word or a fair fight. Well I’ve come here to give you either one, or get either one from you. — Josey Wales to Chief Ten Bears, The Outlaw Josey Wales * Raising hell with the hippies and the cowboys They don’t […]
One benefit of this Covid Spring is that we all get the chance to reexamine our priorities, which can become wildly skewed in lengthy periods of prosperity. We’ve been prosperous for a very long time, most of us entirely unscathed by our various wars and rumors of wars, and on the macro level we may have forgotten that our extraordinary wealth is historically unusual, requires vigilance and constant maintenance, and is also an addiction.
“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” — Joseph Conrad * “The systems of explanation, historical and psychological, that we employ to explain ordinary human behavior, however extreme, cannot explain Hitler, who represents, (theologian Emil) Fackenheim believes, a ‘radical evil,’ an ‘eruption of demonism into history…’” — Ron […]
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold… — William Butler Yeats A month ago, COVID-19 was a dark cloud on the horizon, a low muttering of thunder, an ill wind. With disorienting speed, we have been plunged into a raging tempest, our sails tattered, our […]
August 23, 1572 — St. Bartholomew’s Eve. Man of Commerce and Soldier of Fortune Mattias Tannhauser rides into Paris, where all hell is about to break loose. At a tavern called The Red Ox, he pauses to take his repast and reflect upon the state of affairs in his adopted country… “Tannhauser had abandoned all involvement and […]
Turns out, I underestimated the potentials regarding COVID-19. I thought this would be another SARS or MERS — potentially dangerous, but containable; burning out relatively quickly. I wish I’d read this February 24 article in The Atlantic, which is still a worthy read now: With its potent mix of characteristics, this virus is unlike most that capture popular attention: […]
Coronavirus is probably NOT going to kill us all. You might be forgiven for thinking otherwise, since the reporting on this respiratory illness tends to severely hyperventilate. According to WebMD reporting, as of Tuesday, February 11, there are about 43,000 cases, the vast majority of them in China, and the number of deaths crested 1,000. […]
Travel time on the road to a newspaper conference last week gave me more leisure than usual to run down the warren of rabbit holes that is political journalism c. 2020. It’s weird out there, as you have probably noticed. A couple of pieces caught my eye, one of which is simply a telling commentary on the […]
Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves Britons never, never, never shall be slaves! Daughter Ceili is in London for the next five months, for a study-abroad term through the University of Oregon. This is the fulfillment of a dream she’s had since she was a very young girl, enthralled by the image of Harry Potter and his friends […]
It’s not the apocalypse, of course, it’s just history, but if you thought the shape of history was meant to be an upward curve of progress, then this feels like the apocalypse. — Dougald Hine, co-founder of The Dark Mountain Project It can always sound really glib when historians start dancing up and down and […]
As I was reading and writing last night–sketching various attempts at an end of the decade post, I came across a wonderful passage from “The Powder River Expedition Journals of Colonel Richard Irving Dodge.” This was a book I bought myself for Christmas because I maintain an abiding interest in that period of our history and also because I have a long-running fascination with immediate accounts written by the people who were on the ground when events unfolded. That’s true from Caesar to Tacitus, from Samuel Pepys to the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and beyond. I buy them and read them whenever I can.