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  • Casual racism vs. institutionalized racism

    We as a nation have become really good at punishing casual racism. You know, using the N-word or saying overtly cruel things about black people in the presence of a recording device. Robert Copeland, an 82-year-old town police commissioner in New Hampshire, resigned this week …

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  • Congratulations, graduate! Welcome to the Real World

    And now, an open letter to all you new grads. Congratulations. Good job. Way to go. Bet you thought this day would never come. And if memory serves, it probably almost didn’t. Anyhow, welcome to the real world. And please be aware that we use …

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  • D-Day at 70: Some nagging questions

    I generally pay no attention to 70th anniversary observances, saving up my energies for the 75-year “diamond jubilee” milestones. I am making an exception for June 6, the 70th anniversary of D-Day. To put it bluntly, five years could make a lot of difference. According …

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  • About Town

    Well folks, it’s that time of year again. Despite the rain we’ve had this week, summer is knocking on our door. School years are ending, winter clothes are packed away, air conditioners are running, and everyone seems to be making plans for what they want …

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  • The imprinting of Elliot Rodger and us

    When the news first hit that 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six students in Santa Barbara, it didn’t foreshadow the horrific details yet to come. Six promising young lives knifed and shot dead. Families instantly plunged into grief. Rodger’s film industry parents getting his 137-page biographical …

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  • When desegregation came to Arkansas

    The decision had been 60 years in the making, but when it came, it was like an earthquake across the South. The Supreme Court handed down the Brown v. Board of Education decision on May 4, 1954, declaring that the “separate but equal” doctrine that …

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  • My dog is smarter than most … (fill in the blank)

    She’s only 7 weeks old but she’s smarter than …, well, most people I come in contact with! Ha! Gotcha, didn’t I? You thought I was going to claim she is smarter than other dogs. Well, she very well might be. After just one week …

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  • Innocence stolen and unbridled abuse

    Behind the green curtain is where my world began to end. It was where my innocence was forever washed away in a porcelain pan filled with developer. Grainy images brought into strong relief on white paper that would become forever etched on my soul. It …

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  • Choosing freedom over liberty

    Our community was running a memorial exhibit on the Holocaust. I felt it would be a good learning experience for my family, as well as for myself. When we reached the exhibit, we each randomly drew a name according to our age and gender. Through …

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  • Standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns

    Editor Note: This is an excerpt from Tom Purcell’s new book, “Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!” available at amazon.com.     Hurricane Isabel struck Washington, D.C. hard that night. It was Sept. 18, 2003. I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, …

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  • America’s civil religion: Presidents and Memorial Day

    Throughout American history presidents have often used religious rhetoric for various reasons: to provide comfort and consolation, argue that God providentially directs our nation, celebrate our Christian heritage, defend democracy, hold citizens and the country accountable to transcendent standards, help accomplish their own political aims, …

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  • The five Bailey brothers of World War II

    Every Memorial Day I attend a parade in the little town of Mercer, Pennsylvania. It’s pure Americana: flags, kids, a snow-cone stand, marching bands and veterans of wars past processing down the street. Every year, one exhibit always strikes me: a car with a placard …

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