Ex Tempore

Chicago Shooting Isn’t News, Dammit

I’ve just read a CNN news story that’s miles away from objective journalism.  It’s the top-trending article, above the Tunisian bombing, above what seems to be World War Three starting in Turkey.  And it’s not even news.

So a year and more ago, Chicago cops apparently (more…)

Jihad! Why boots on the ground is a bad move

There is global outrage at the recent terror attacks on civilians, and rightly so.  The group calling itself the Islamic State (I’ll be referring to them as Daesh, following the example of France’s President Hollande) has claimed responsibility for not only the attacks in Paris, but also bombings in Beiruit and a passenger jet in Egypt, Metrojet Flight 9268.  In all, several (more…)

On Honor In Warfare

(Reposted from The Planets Magazine; revised)

This short treatise was inspired by a public thread in an online game, Planets.Nu, and many of the terms are specific to that game. Nevertheless, the concepts are common ones, and I don’t think the game terms will be any bar to your understanding.

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In the original thread, two Emperors, at least one likely prospective Emperor, and several current and former championship contestants participated in a lively discussion on the subject, but in the end I felt that as many questions were raised as were answered. Here, then, I have attempted to organize many of the thoughts expressed there and to (more…)

On Literacy

“Words! Words when spoken out loud for the sake of performance are music. They have rhythm and pitch and timbre and volume. These are the properties of music – and music has the ability to find us and move us and lift us up in ways that literal meaning can’t.”
– President Josiah Bartlet
(The West Wing sn. 3 ep. 5 “War Crimes“)

The above quote was meant to be read aloud.

Try it. Pretend, just for a moment, that you are in fact that famed oratorical snob, President Jed Bartlet, and read this aloud. Be persuasive; be passionate. Convince me. (more…)

On Welfare

(from the archives)

I’ve been reading Martin Cruz Smith again – “Gorky Park” and “Polar Star”. It’s a fascinating snapshot of another country at another time, and the contrast of that vision throws the realities of our own time and place into sharp relief.

The great boast of the Soviet Union was that it was a Worker’s Paradise. Everyone (more…)

Samizdat

(From the archives)

Some thirty-five years ago, a particularly brilliant Czechoslovakian dissident named Vaclav Havel wrote an essay entitled “Power of the Powerless”. The subject matter was a thoughtful and timely dissection of certain paradoxical behaviors required by society in order for a person to prosper under the post-totalitarian regime then in power. Unsurprisingly, the (more…)