Despairs of the heart

When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. — Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik When Pima County Sheriff ... Continue reading

Out of the abyss

Kaing Guek Eav was an educated man and, according to his students, a fine math teacher with a keen mind. He grew up poor in a rural Cambodian village and had a reputation for bookishness. He trained to be a teacher. College friends remember him taking up collections to help poor students with their ... Continue reading

Depressed by jazz

I don't grok jazz.My local PBS station plays jazz at night, and I listen from time to time, hoping that my mother's asparagus theory will win out.(Certain disgusting vegetables, like asparagus, are an acquired taste, according to my mother. She claimed that if I kept choking them down, I'd ... Continue reading

I won’t grow up

There's a great essay at Time Magazine by reporter David Von Drehle about the "extreme self-centeredness" and pervasive narcissism of our age. Von Drehle believes narcissism is at the root of the killing spree at Virginia Tech. As I've said on these pages many times, self-centeredness is the most ... Continue reading

Uncomfortable with evil

"I know that there's a tendency to think that everybody can get counseling or can have a bowl of tomato soup and everything is going to be all right," she said. "But I think that evil exists, and I think that he was a mean person." — VT poetry professor Nikki Giovanni, on her former student Cho ... Continue reading

Getting faith out of politics

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. —The first amendment to the ... Continue reading