All in Social Commentary

Draft 'em all: an appeal for universal service (Part 1)

Amid plans for an imperial military parade currently being drawn up at the Pentagon (which you would hope had better things to do) and Erik Prince’s lingering proposal to privatize the war in Afghanistan (which Sen. Lindsay Graham called, “something that would come from a bad soldier of fortune novel”), this seems a good time to revisit the idea of universal service for America’s youth.

Blogging in a time of horror

The aim of these blogs is to present short essays that will give you an idea to consider, if only fleetingly, much like Robert Frost’s belief that a poem could be “a momentary stay against confusion.” So perhaps they’re not equipped to deal with a tragedy of the proportions of Sunday’s massacre in Las Vegas, which to date has killed 59 people and wounded over 520 more. Yet to write about something else seems a kind of a desecration, as does engaging in the same mind-numbing dance in which accusations of “politicizing” the shootings stifle any debate at all. 

A narrow trail lovingly made

A new trail begins just west of Little Long Pond on the Mt. Desert Land & Garden Preserve, which consists of 1,165 acres abutting Acadia National Park. The Richard Trail is named for Richard Rockefeller, a doctor who for years chaired the advisory board of Doctors Without Borders and died when the plane he was piloting crashed in fog and heavy rain three years ago.

The Good News

This is a simple story about people who do their jobs well.

I’m judging a statewide newspaper contest, which consists of entries from six local daily papers, all of them multi-issue series of interest and importance to their communities. Contrary to the constant barrage of reports about fake news, sensationalism, and bias, these submissions bespeak a profession that is, well, professional. They are not large, metropolitan newspapers, but small, one-time family-owned operations, who charge their few reporters to dig deep into issues that affect their readers and the communities they serve.

“I was one small stone."

Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens died last week at her home near the Loire River in France. She was 98. During World War II, she served as an interpreter for a French business association during the German occupation – and also as an amateur spy whose charm, flawless German, and incredible courage enabled her to gather and pass along information on the development of the V-1 and V-2 rockets that saved thousands of English lives.