Category: politics

A terrible fantasy.

He dressed himself in camoflage.  Amid the wordless shock and horror and grief, that’s a detail that sticks.  He dressed himself in camoflage and gathered his weapons — including Sig Sauer and Glock handguns and a Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine, purchased legally — and went to an elementary school.  There he killed twenty children under […]

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After the election, the way forward.

Today a friend of mine, an African-American woman and PhD candidate, writes: “I tested a subject today whose very existence is the opposite of mine. He is an older (near octogenarian), White Republican, and I am…not. But during the session, we spoke respectfully of our political differences. Though there were the inevitable moments of awkward […]

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Common ground: politics, water, and life.

Checking my email on what is going to be my last full morning in Alabama for a while, I found some very troubling news: fracking may be coming to our beautiful little corner of northeast Iowa. You might say it’s technically not fracking, since the proposed mine in Allamakee County would be for what’s called […]

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Moving home: (re)thinking the organic South.

Sometimes I think “home” in my mobile life has become less a specific place than a kind of place where certain conditions obtain — the sense of comfort, practicality, and freedom that comes from being able to move around on foot and bike as well as car; the ability to eat healthy food that didn’t […]

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Gardening in public.

Our little town’s gardening group has been buzzing after two of our members — following a neighbor’s anonymous complaint — were notified recently that they might be in violation of a city ordinance against gardening in the “boulevard,” the strip of grass between sidewalk and curb in front of most houses.  The issue: our members’ […]

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Roots.

This stem of Hibiscus mutabilis, a.k.a. Confederate rose, flourishes in a Mason jar on my kitchen counter, ready for repotting.  Its mother plant, originally a cutting from my parents’ yard in Alabama, is resprouting too.  Last summer I planted a cutting like this in my yard to see whether, as the plant encyclopedia promised, it […]

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Touching through the glass: animals, people, reality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fbahS7VSFs&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3] Young parents laugh nervously as they film their child, whom they have placed up against the glass of a lioness’s cage in a zoo.  Behind the glass, the lioness is deadly serious:  she scratches and bites the barrier separating her from one good bite of food.  Incredibly, the father giggles, “Say hi, kitty, kitty.”  […]

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A world safe for children — really.

In Florida, an unarmed boy with dark brown skin, walking to a convenience store for some candy, is shot by a jittery, self-styled “neighborhood watch” vigilante.  The reasoning of the white shooter and his supporters — who erupt all over the Internet and the political sphere, with astonishing malice and vindictiveness — is dismally transparent.  […]

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Whitney Houston and the women-walls.

On Facebook and even email, this picture meets me at every turn, looming, vaguely Inquisitorial.  You want to explain to us why you *need* birth control, young lady?  Depressed by the image and its context — and by work and other First World Problems, despite even-more-stellar-than-usual moments of conversation with students — I turned to […]

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