Closing the circle: Teaching, learning, life
Fredericksburg.com / Fri, 07 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0500
MANY OF us approach retirement with at least some measure of trepidation. As a lifelong professor of history and social sciences at Stevens Tech, some specific questions arose. What will replace the classroom, with its daily joys of teaching and learning with students? Where will I find inspiration? What activities will be paramount in my new phase of life? These questions were answered as I went on an Odyssey that brought my future face to face with my past. My journey began when an alumnus asked a simple question: "Are you going to have a retirement party?" Without hesitation, I responded: "Why should I have one party with 100 attendees when I could enjoy a hundred individual dinners, on different nights, with one of my former students?"...
Hooray for the GOP tax code reform plan!
Fredericksburg.com / Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0500
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--A Republican leader is doing something right and good. He is Rep. David Camp of Michigan. Camp has issued a detailed plan for simplifying the tax code. That's his duty as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax law. Reforming the 7,000-page abomination that is our tax laws--and making them fairer--has long been a stated goal of both parties. But it is a notoriously unpleasant job because it involves doing away with tax loopholes that have vocal and deep-pocketed supporters....
Apocalyptic threats: The end of the world?
Fredericksburg.com / Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0500
BOULDER, Colo.--Wherever we Americans look, the threat of apocalypse stares back at us. Two clouds of genuine doom still darken our world: nuclear extermination and environmental extinction. If they got the urgent action they deserve, they would be at the top of our political priority list. But they have a hard time holding our attention, crowded out as they are by a host of new perils also labeled "apocalyptic": federal debt, the government's plan to take away our guns, corporate control of the Internet, the Comcast-Time Warner mergerocalypse, Beijing's pollution airpocalypse, the American snowpocalypse, not to speak of earthquakes and plagues. The list of topics, thrown at us from the political right, left and center, just keeps growing....
Spending on seniors vs. kids: Apples to oranges
Fredericksburg.com / Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0500
LOS ANGELES--Funny guy, Bill Maher. And he got lots of yuks on his HBO show recently with a riff on government spending on our seniors versus. our children. "In the battle for government giveaways," he said, "we have to stop thinking in terms of rich versus poor, or black versus white, and admit it's really a war between the young and the old. And the old are winning."...
Interview with a president: Lesson learned
Fredericksburg.com / Mon, 24 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
WASHINGTON--It probably would be fair to say that in early 1981 I was more than a little self-satisfied. Having worked in four presidential campaigns before becoming an editorial writer for The Washington Post with my own column, I had, thanks to the kindness of an old friend, presidential Press Secretary Jim Brady, been given, just 12 days after the inauguration, one of the first one-on-one White House interviews with the new president, Ronald Reagan. I spent 40 minutes in the Oval Office asking the president about the influence of sports in his own life. I had thoroughly prepared for the session by interviewing friends, colleagues and even old college football teammates of the man affectionately known as "The Gipper" for his movie portrayal of Notre Dame halfback George Gipp. For example, they knew that the Little 19 Conference of which Eureka College, Reagan's alma mater, was a member…
Civilian carnage no accident in Assad regimePage 1 of 2 pages 1 2 >
Fredericksburg.com / Sun, 23 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
AL HADALAT, Jordan--For refugees to arrive at this remote eastern border crossing--about 100 kilometers from Iraq--is itself a feat of courage and logistics. Jordan's western crossings, nearer the fighting in Syria, are now, in the term of art, "managed"--meaning only the war wounded are taken in. Refugees from besieged areas of Daraa, Homs, Aleppo and the suburbs of Damascus skirt government-held regions, pay middlemen for transport, provide bribes at checkpoints and finally walk across a desert no-man's-land to arrive in Jordan with little but poignant bundles of blankets and clothing. Most of the refugees are women and children. This batch included a 2-week-old baby....
News flash: Not all black men look alike
Fredericksburg.com / Fri, 21 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
BOWIE, Md.--I used to get blamed all the time for stuff Bob Steinback said. To be fair, it wasn't always blame--sometimes it was credit--and it went both ways. Sometimes, he had to explain to people that it was not he who had written a certain thing, but me....
Price gouging anti-capitalism?
Fredericksburg.com / Thu, 20 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
ALTHOUGH last week's snowstorm closed local schools, it more than made up for it by providing area residents with a fine economics lesson. I refer to the unintended consequences of the state's anti-price-gouging law. On Feb. 11, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the snowstorm that ultimately left the Fredericksburg area blanketed in ice and snow. The same day as the governor's declaration, area residents began rushing to local grocery stores and, even before the first snowflake fell, many store shelves were stripped bare of basic essentials. Significantly, the governor's declaration also triggered Virginia's anti-price-gouging law....
Revolution? Or preservation? Past is present
Fredericksburg.com / Mon, 17 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
WASHINGTON--One of the most vivid, outspoken conservatives of our time has the drawback of being a fictional character in a British costume drama, "Downton Abbey." Here is Lady Violet, Dowager Countess, sparring with her relentlessly progressive in-law, Isobel Crawley: Lady Violet: "You are quite wonderful, the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal."...
School Board fix: Participate!
Fredericksburg.com / Sun, 16 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0500
PARTICIPATORY democracy, the best form of government, requires participation. The residents of Fredericksburg have a chance this spring to make a difference for the future of our city when City Council and School Board ward elections take place. I am considering running for the School Board because of the demographics of childhood poverty in our community and the burdens on classroom teachers, both increased by diversion of taxpayer resources to school administration. Our system has the highest administrative costs in the state. The current School Board has never publicly addressed these costs. City Council has publicly scrutinized city administrative expenses, even to the point of bringing in outside consultants. Again, the current School Board is silent. And, as taxpayers subsidize high administrative costs, teachers use their own money to bring in supplies for less- fortunate students....
Fredericksburg Weather Forecast