Cleaning

When they gave me tenure at the university I flew out to Wyoming to give my mother the good news face to face. I knew she’d appreciate that, and it had been a while, quite a while in fact, since I’d seen her. It was not the easiest time for such a trip. My new book was just coming out, with all the last-minute changes and all the obligations that involves. But I was able to grade student papers on the plane. And I needed the change of scene. Even my familiar boyhood home constituted read more

Whom to Vote For?

We’re getting close to presidential election time, and many people are anxiously trying to find out what they’ll watch on TV while they skip bothering to vote. I hardly blame them. Neither major party candidate is seriously proposing to address our campaign-funding system of legalized bribery, the rapidly expanding wealth gap between the few at the top and the rest of us, the bloated military budget three times the size of all our supposed enemies’ combined, our deteriorating read more

Family Values

Orange County Review
12 Oct. 2000

To the editor:

Tamara Jones’s letter in your Oct. 12 issue advises people to vote in the upcoming elections not with regard to “the economy” but with an eye toward supporting the idea of “the family.” I’d like to argue that families often stand or fall because of economic matters, such as the declining wages most Americans are receiving for increased hours at work.

Jones blames smaller paychecks on taxes, but taxes have not read more

Town Committee Works Through Minor Crap

The town Public Works Committee met June
27 and took actions and heard reports on many
topics. Bobby Ryan and Sam Found made up the
committee. Jane Walker was absent.

Ryan and Found recommended to Council
accepting a $10,000 donation from the Mid-day
Lions Club for construction of a new pavilion in
Yowell Meadow Park. The pavilion read more

Monkey business

At a gas station on South Main St. shortly after I began working at the Culpeper News in August, 1999, a man approached me and asked “Are you a college student?” “No,” I said, “why?”

It turned out he had seen a “Darwin” bumper sticker on my car and wanted to know if I really believed in such stuff. I told him that Darwinism wasn’t something one “believed in” like a religion, that it was just biology, and we ended up having a read more

Confidentiality

I recently had a discussion with the editors of a student newspaper at the University of Virginia called the Cavalier Daily. The paper is currently performing an admirable service in its coverage of some questionable judicial proceedings at the university. But the paper printed information which its source had been instructed by the university to keep confidential. I asked the editors whether they opposed the rule that made University Judiciary Committee proceedings confidential. They said they read more

Letter to Stanley Fish

To Stanley Fish
cc: Columbia Law Review

12 May 1999

Dear Mr. Fish,

Thank you very much for your Columbia Law Review article “Mission Impossible…”. I enjoyed it immensely, as I do most of your work. (I have read many articles, including those in “Is There a Text in This Class?,” “Doing What Comes Naturally,” and most of those in “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech,” which I am currently reading.) I am not sure, however, whether read more

County Raises Taxes Infinitesimally; Fire Rains Down From Heaven

The County Board of Supervisors voted last Thursday
to raise the real-estate tax rate eight cents. The 4-3 vote
raised the tax rate to 82 cents per $100 of assessed value,
far short of the 23-cent rate hike that had been advertised
for public hearing, but more than the five-cent hike that
had also been considered.

As part of the same motion, the board voted to add to read more

Who Cares About Privacy Protections?

Privacy concerns have long been a mystery to me, and I have written about this many times. I will probably never fathom why I should give a damn if some bureaucrat knows how many bathrooms I have. The idea that “by the time the creditor has finished talking to the credit bureau, he is likely to know more about your personal life than your mother-in-law does,” strikes me as insane. Is my life reducible to a few facts and figures, even with some bits of irrelevant gossip thrown in? My read more