Columns

Forty-one years ago as the U.S. reeled from oil shocks and long lines of cars just to get gas, the conservative tabloid New York Post editorialized: “Independence Day, 1979, the American paradox is bleakly apparent. As a nation, we appear to have become steadily more dependent on forces seem…

Africa’s Masai warriors greet each other with the phrase “Kasserian Ingera,” which translates to “And how are the children?” This greeting underscores the importance of children’s well-being as a marker of success in their community. The traditional response translates to “All the children a…

On June 23, the first results of The New York Times/Sienna College presidential poll were released. These numbers were national, which as we all know by now, are largely meaningless thanks to the Electoral College. Ask Hillary Clinton about that. Or Al Gore. The other three candidates who wo…

Last week the Trump administration announced the suspension of visas for seven different categories of specialized workers and their family members. Many might be tempted to shrug this off, thinking that such a restriction will help American workers find better jobs. That conclusion is mistaken.

Something curious is happening to me. It’s the opposite of what I thought would happen when I started spending so much time at home. I hope it’s not anything to be too concerned about, but I’m not napping as much as I used to. For most of my life, if I was on the couch watching a TV show, I’…

More toasty summer days, more water fun, and many happy hours with family pets. The latest pets are three kittens from a stray mama cat. A mama cat randomly came to our farm and hid where we could not see her and then had three baby kittens. You can only imagine how our little ones have all …

Today’s column is a medley of opinions and comments. I begin by praising another columnist’s work. Michael Hick’s June 22 column, headlined “Changing dynamics in modern American fatherhood,” rang my bell. His analysis is worth reading – you might dig through your pile of old papers or find t…

Warblers are typically thought of as birds preferring mature woodlands. However, there are five species that breed in central Indiana that prefer brushy habitats. Two of these species, the yellow warbler and the common yellowthroat, are relatively common throughout Indiana. The blue-winged w…

I remember precisely what it felt like when the realization hit with dreadful clarity: the novels I had chosen to feature in my book talks all had main characters who were middle-class white women, a lot like me. The audience to whom I was going to speak, however, was noticeably more diverse…

It was heartbreaking to watch the murder of George Floyd and equally painful to watch peaceful protests be hijacked by agitators who turned to rioting, violence and looting towards business – many were minority-owned – that were not remotely involved in this tragedy in Minneapolis.

Like so many others, my May trip to New York to see a couple of Broadway shows was canceled. The theater business won’t worry about my business. They know my wife and I will be back. In fact, they might even sing “You’ll Be Back” to us, except without the sarcasm it normally brings as part o…

There are many things that a child needs to learn that are not found between the covers of a book. These things are just as necessary for success in life as words and numbers. A child needs these tools to navigate through the hallways of a school and the highways of life. For the next eight …

My wife heard a news segment on TV about doctors’ concerns that certain cholesterol-lowering drugs might be responsible for causing memory loss. Mary Ellen asked me if I was aware of this, but before I could give her some wise-guy answer, she issued one of her patented humor warnings: “Dick,…

The federal Employment Situation Summary, published on May 5, caused quite a firestorm. The reason is a data irregularity, perhaps a miscoding of survey data that had the official unemployment rate drop to 13.3%. Every economist, including myself, expected the rate to rise, not fall. There i…

As we patiently await the consequences of what we read in the news (the pandemic, the protests, and the debate about trashing and re-establishing entire police forces), we need time to escape – to use our imagination and give our attention to things that are not, in themselves, problems. Our…

Hoosier Democrats will convene virtually at the end of this week to officially nominate Dr. Woody Myers for governor, Linda Lawson for lieutenant governor, and either State Sen. Karen Tallian or former Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel for attorney general.

“He’s dumber than a rock!” That was lunch time table talk. I happened to overhear it when I was supervising the school cafeteria. I don’t know who said it or who they were talking about. When you’re one of only two teachers looking after 350 teenagers, you couldn’t eavesdrop if you wanted to…

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