Defending electoral college

August 26, 2011 During the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush won the presidency by winning the majority of votes in the Electoral College. Since then, a predictable but misguided effort has been under way to try to make the popular vote determinative of presidential elections, instead of relying on the Electoral College as provided in the Constitution and as traditionally counted.

It’s a lie! College is NOT too hard, too expensive

August 26, 2011 Please stop and read this column! I wish I would have known what I’m about to write while I was still in high school. Chances are I would not have quit. But you see, when you grow up poor and see that your parents are barely feeding the family, college is completely out of the question. I was in the ninth grade when I decided I didn’t need school. I knew I wasn’t going to college so why bother graduating high school?

Fascists in small government

August 26, 2011 Recent news of the West Memphis Three — freed on the condition that they confess their guilt, thus sparing sociopathic prosecutors any public embarrassment — raises an old question.The state’s defenders commonly argue that, no matter how fallible or corrupt individual public officials may be, they’ll be restrained by checks and balances built into the system.But what happens when the system’s institutional culture is corrupt to the core?  What if it’s not just “a few bad apples” among cops and prosecutors, but their whole professional culture?

Labor Day: Can it still be saved?

August 25, 2011 Labor Day isn’t what it used to be.Parades are less prominent, Jerry Lewis has been ousted from the MDA Telethon, summer weather seems to drag into mid-October and even the “no white after Labor Day” fashion dogma has crumbled.And our day-to-day lives have made the once-great notion of a day honoring the working people of America a farce.

Artifacts in tunnels underneath Jerusalem

August 25, 2011 The excavation of an ancient drainage tunnel beneath Jerusalem has yielded a sword, oil lamps, pots and coins abandoned during a war there 2,000 years ago, according to archaeologists quoted in a recent Associated Press article. They said the finds apparently are debris from a pivotal episode in the city’s history when rebels hid from Roman soldiers who were crushing a Jewish revolt.

More on White River’s culinary creations

August 25, 2011 The White River journey continues as I learn more about this fascinating part of the country. This week I was introduced to several culinary creations that are so good they could be dangerous. I mean they are so delicious that if they were placed on a plate and held over a man’s head his tongue might beat his brains out trying to get to them. That’s how dangerously delicious they are.

Music lessons

August 24, 2011 My mother was under the illusion that I had some kind of musical talent.Mothers are like that.“If you don’t use your God-given talents, they will be taken away from you,” she would say while writing out a check for my weekly singing and piano lessons and reaffirming it with the “use it or lose it” biblical lesson.I knew the parable of the talents by heart and I didn’t want to lose mine.

Truth behind the preaching

August 24, 2011 As a children’s church teacher I’ve been told, “Guy, you’ve got the preaching down. It’s just the closing part you need to work on.” I’d always taken it as a compliment, at least until last Sunday. Poor little Jimmy … I just felt terrible.

Experience to avoid

August 24, 2011 I wonder what the Great Depression was really like.All we really know about it comes from old news reports and what our older family members told us.My father’s parents must have had a great time dating during the “Roaring ’20s.” They married in 1929, one month before the stock market collapsed.My grandfather was lucky, though. He had a good job, working directly for the Mellon family as an accountant.He helped feed and clothe his sisters’ children during the hardest times, though he would die in 1937 from strep throat (penicillin was not yet available).

Schools’ lockdown drills

August 23, 2011 I remember, when I was in school, having fire and tornado drills. I honestly don’t remember having a lot of earthquake drills at Cord-Charlotte, at least until Iben Browning predicted one would cripple the New Madrid fault zone on Dec. 3, 1990, but we may have. You know the memory is one of the first things to go in old age.When my parents were in school, it was the atomic bomb drills that were all the rage; before that it was air raid drills (in certain parts of the country — we were probably safe here).