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Legislators Are Not Stupid People. So What’s Behind Their Stupid Behavior?
The New York Times, 18 March 2019

The 111th General Assembly of Tennessee convened on Jan. 8, and it will disperse on April 26, not a moment too soon. Already, its Republican supermajority has introduced bills that would further weaken lax gun laws, increase campaign-donation limits and undermine a progressive Nashville law passed by public referendum, among other assaults on democracy and good sense. (more….)

America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation
The New York Times, 12 August 2018

On Thursday morning, The Knoxville News Sentinel published a front-page story by Matt Lakin about the imminent execution of Billy Ray Irick. The inmate had been on death row since 1986, a year after he confessed to raping and murdering a 7-year-old child left in his care. The little girl was named Paula Dyer. She called her murderer “Uncle Bill.” The print headline read, “Paula Dyer’s last day on Earth.” (more….)

The Spider in My Life
The New York Times, 23 July 2018

A small gray spider has pitched an elaborate camp at my work space in the family room. She is not an orb-weaver like E.B. White’s famous Charlotte. This spider’s web is a multilayered hammock-like construction strung between the leaves of the orchid I got for Mother’s Day and anchored by silken strands to the window frame in back and to an African violet and a desk lamp on either side. (more….)

An American Tragedy in Nashville
The New York Times, 23 April 2018

There is something fundamentally democratic about a Waffle House restaurant in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a place where people working the late shift can stop for a hot meal on the way home, where high school kids can extend prom night just an hour longer, where 20-somethings jazzed on live music can wind down after a night on the town. It’s a uniquely American place. (more….)

Christians Need a New Right-to-Life Movement
The New York Times, 24 December 2017

At least since Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door in 1517, Christians have disagreed on what Jesus calls them to do in the name of faith. There are nearly 34,000 Christian denominations worldwide, a number that doesn’t account for American Christians — nearly one in six, according to a Gallup poll last summer — who belong to no denomination at all. (more….)