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Our America

So Disgraceful to Our Country

- By Benjamin Franklin

(Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1778. Joseph Siffred Duplessis. Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Over the last four years or so, events in the United States of America—a country in which, as you know, I myself have no small interest—have made it difficult for those of us who are, shall we say, permanently retired from active duty, to remain so.

The recent controversy regarding a book contract, proffered to a certain notorious abuser of the public good and trust, has made it impossible for me, as a dedicated public servant, to remain silent any longer. On this issue, I long ago made my own sentiments and my own practice, clear, so let me indulge myself here by simply citing from my...

Our America


- By A Friend in Sarajevo

(Photo: A "Sarajevo Rose," turned into an ersatz war memorial.)

I’ve been thinking what to write since last night and I keep drawing a blank. Mostly because I figure you already know whatever I might end up saying. Also, cognitive dissonance, I think. The impossible becomes possible, then it becomes actual, but still somehow remains inconceivable. Also, sensory overload from all the news, the images: the dude in the chewbacca bikini, the dude carrying out the dais, waving to the camera with a picture postcard smile and a ridiculous pom-pom hat like he’s going cross-country skiing, so childish, so lovably American, so out of touch with reality… I think we’ve been taking reality for granted.

And then there’s my own baggage. I can...

Our America

Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now?

- By Ward Schumaker

When my son was young we’d read a book or two each night before he went to sleep, and invariably he’d ask for just one more. For that extra read, one title became my favorite: Marvin K. Mooney Won’t You Please Go Now, by Dr. Seuss: “The time has come! The time is now! JUST GO, GO, GO! I DON’T CARE HOW! Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now?!” As refrains go, this one was useful in persuading my son that it was finally time for to go to sleep.

Today I find the book relevant again. Why won’t Donald Trump and the G.O.P. just accept the will of the people and move on? I’m not the first to think the book germane to politics: Wikipedia tells me that, back in 1974 during the Watergate affair, the columnist Art Buchwald...

Our America

Decommisioned: An Obituary

- By Daniel Nevárez Araújo

Photo: University of Central Florida

the soul, after all
doesn’t exist by itself
it needs to take the form
of the things it inhabits…
-Elidio La Torre Lagares, from Arecibo Observatory

On December 1st, I woke up to the news that the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory had collapsed. A cable holding the main platform in place snapped, sending the structure crashing down early in the morning. The news was first shared by local meteorologist Deborah Martorell and would soon spread like wildfire on local and international news outlets. The vast majority of my friends as well as public figures expressed...

Our America

Game Theory

- By Jim Hicks

(Photo: Bengt Ekeroth and Max von Sydow in The Seventh Seal, 1957. © Svensk Filmindustri. Ingmar Bergman, director)

So, is it just a game for them, with us? If you think it through, that simple idea would make their every move not simply justifiable, but impeccable. Even in the endgame, a true master sees room for maneuver, an occasion for thumbing his nose, macho display for the masses or for the record books. In that most martial—and most US—of sports, when your team can’t move forward, they still bury the ball deep in enemy territory, trusting their defense, waiting, expecting to strike again. The only goal is to crush the opposition, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool. That’s how the game is played...

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