Sex in the USA

January, 1999
When Woody Allen was accused of child molesting, a TV interviewer asked him if he had done it. Instead of answering, Woody pointed out the improbability that if he were going to do such a thing he would have chosen to do it at an unusually inconvenient time in a house full of people (as was alleged). Whether or not Woody is innocent, I think he is smart. If he had responded as the interviewer probably wanted him to, saying, “I would never do that! This is my daughter read more

Capital Punishment

The cover story in the Washington Post Magazine of Oct. 22, 2000, illustrates the following familiar and troubling points:
1) Legal systems in the United States, and often “counselors,” encourage and do little or nothing to oppose the idea that those suffering due to crimes will feel better if they hate and inflict suffering.

2) This idea is incorrect.

3) The media refuses to direct the conversation of this topic to what social scientists overwhelmingly agree would be the most effective, read more

Affirmative Action

I went to a duel on a recent evening in a large auditorium at the University of Virginia, with Linda Chavez and the dean of admissions, Mr. Blackburn, speaking on affirmative action. Both had good points, but I’d give Blackburn a clear victory. I’d guesstimate three-quarters of the audience had decided on that outcome in advance. The crowd was slightly rowdy, by UVa lecture-hall standards.

Chavez spoke first. She runs the Center for Equal Opportunity, in DC, and their reports on read more

Why Leash Dogs?

The County Board of Supervisors voted at its
July 5 meeting to advertise for a public hearing
at its Aug. 1 meeting a proposal for a
county-wide leash law. In the meantime, several
specific areas in the county have leash laws, and
on July 5 the Board added one more.

By a 5-2 vote, with Steve Walker (I,
East-Fairfax) and Bill Chase (D, Stevensburg) read more

The Much Requested Short Answer to "What is Deconstuction?"

In article <19971010153301.LAA15626@ladder02.news.aol.com> jackhat1@aol.com (Jackhat1) writes:
> I dip into this thread from time to time looking for a short description of
> decontructionism. I still don’t know what it is. Does anyone have a paragraph
> or two that could help me. Thanks.
>
> Jack h

OK, Jack, I’m picking yours at random, and composing a paragraph. I will then put it on my webpage and in the future refer as many of these requests there as possible. read more

I Love Grover Norquist

Also published on BuzzFlash at www.buzzflash.com and on Democratic Underground at www.democraticunderground.com and on BartCop Reader at www.genslab.com/bcreader on March 26, 2002, and on www.makethemaccountable.com.

This past week, I sat in the audience and watched two performances in Washington, D.C. The first, a debate at the National Press Club, got me laughing and cheered me up. The second, a comedy show at the Improv, depressed me deeply.

The debate, sponsored by the American Prospect magazine, read more

Make DNA Testing Universal and Repeal the 21-Day Rule

(Published in the Culpeper News, 8 June 00)

I took him four months, but Governor Gilmore has now decided to grant a request for DNA testing that could for the first time release a wrongly convicted Virginian who spent time on death row, namely Earl Washington. At the same time, Texas Governor George W. Bush – whom many accuse of denying DNA testing in cases of dubious guilt and going ahead with executions – has for the first time blocked an execution until testing can be done.

“Any read more

Toleration

February, 1999
In April of 1995 I wrote a paper for a graduate philosophy class at the U of Virginia with professor John Simmons. We were reading Rawls, and the paper was called “Reason and Religion in Rawls.” It’s 17 pages long but makes a simple point that is not specific to Rawls. Recently I found the same point made – the only other time I’ve seen it – in a paper by Stanley Fish in “The Revival of Pragmatism,” edited by Morris Dickstein. read more

Town Manager is Sacked

Town Manager Tony Hooper has been fired.
Following a 40-minute discussion in closed session
Tuesday night, Town Council returned to open session
and voted, 8-1 with Sam Found in opposition, to fire
Hooper effective immediately. His pay ($76,694 annually)
will continue through May 31, including

Harry Potter

I spent Memorial Day 2001 reading the first of the popular series of “Harry Potter” children’s books. I also caught some of the usual blurbs on the news about a president, whose family’s wealth got him out of going to war, honoring those who had gone off to murder people of other nationalities — whether by following the “proper rules” of war or by slitting the throats of women and children (the way one American war hero did in an incident that hit the read more