July 3, 2022

Lessons of Endurance

BENZONIA – You might have heard. Last week, in Antarctic coastal waters 10,000 feet deep, shipwreck explorers combing the bottom of the Weddell Sea found the surprisingly intact hull of the Endurance, the explorer ship that sank in 1915.  It’s a singular event that joins a chapter in calamitous nautical history with contemporary expedition, bravery, diligence, and technology. Also this: Infused in Ernest Shackleton’s decision to sail into dangerous waters, and the brutal winter of …

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30 Days, 11 States, 7700 Miles, 45 Interviews in the Age of Covid; Triple Vaxxed and Home Safe

SOMERSET, KY – The worst years of my career, 2008 to 2010, I served as communications director for two national non-profits seeking public interest advances in clean energy and global climate change. The work was interesting enough. But I had a hard time pitching good stories that I should be the one writing. These last two years have been nearly as frustrating. The pandemic shut down over a decade of national and international reporting on …

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Biden Working Hard To Sideline GOP Mash-Up Of Madness

BENZONIA – I’ve waited for this one from the Department of Justice. It’s been coming for weeks. Attorney General Merrick Garland sued Georgia on June 25, 2021, asserting that its despicable voter suppression law passed in March is illegal. The law, like others by Republican Legislatures in 13 more states, is designed to make it much harder for people of color to vote. But under the U.S. Voting Rights Act, discriminating against groups of people …

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On The Side of Fact, Truth, and Decency

BENZONIA, MI — Though I never attended a formal class in journalism my career, now over 40 years in the making, is firmly centered in sturdy principles of reasoned conduct and examined execution. Stripped of adornment those principles encompass seven rules of engagement: Follow stories that matter.  Interview thoroughly. Research carefully.  Gather views from disparate quarters.  Make the complex simpler to understand. Write with energy and grace.  Follow the facts wherever they lead.  Given that …

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Reactionary Republican Berserk Behavior In and Outside of Michigan

The virus of berserk behavior sickening the Republican Party generated a fresh outbreak of absurd and pathetic conduct by public officers in my home region of Northwest Michigan. First it was Ron Clous, a Republican Grand Traverse County Commissioner, who responded to an appeal by a constituent to formally reject the Proud Boys by brandishing an assault rifle during a virtual County Commission meeting on January 20. Then it was Rob Hentchsel, the Republican commission …

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Joe Biden, Displaying Courage and Urging Unity, Takes Command of a Chastened Nation

SOMERSET, KY. — The English translation to the Shehechiyanu, my favorite Hebrew prayer, commends “our God, Ruler of the Universe, who grants us life, sustains us, and enables us to reach this day.” The prayer (Sha-heck-key-yaanu ) was on my lips as President Joe Biden was sworn into office today. It was followed by shrieks and shouts as I hugged my wife, clasped hands with my brother-in-law, and bellowed my joy into the streets of …

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1/6/21: Day of Progress Shifts To A Calamitous Siege

January 6, 2021. Forevermore the national calendar of unforgettable days will include 1/6/21.  It started as a day to be truly pleased to be an American, and proud of America. An African American preacher and a young Jewish documentary filmmaker, both Georgia Democrats, were elected to the U.S. Senate. In tilting the upper chamber to Democrats, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff pushed Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell out of the majority leadership and made President Joe …

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Trump’s Big Lie Like Other Big Lies – They Exact A Cost

BENZONIA — So here we are weeks from the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president. A viral disease is infecting over 200,000 Americans and killing nearly 3,000 of us daily. A manic, insane sitting president remains in office, unmoved by the pandemic and acting out the anarchic farce that he won the election. The most charitable assessment is that the weeks since the election revealed, certainly for the majority …

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Hatched In Trump’s Rhetoric, A Supremacist Plot To Kidnap Michigan and Virginia Governors

In this era of the anti-American president and his psychotic “law and order” campaign, it is easy to move past the import of what happened just six days ago. The F.B.I. infiltrated a cell of domestic terrorists and arrested 13 white men connected to the Wolverine Watchmen. The men were charged with plotting to attack the Michigan capital in Lansing and kidnap two United States governors — Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Ralph Northam of …

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Biden vs. Trump: It’s A Greg Fogle Campaign Moment

BENZONIA — With less than a month from Election Day, we’ve come to the Greg Fogle moment of the 2020 presidential election campaign. Fogle was a big, bullying energy industry executive who unwittingly served as an ally in a grassroots campaign I helped organize in Michigan in the mid-1990s. Donald Trump is now playing the same role in the 2020 campaign. Let me explain. Back in the mid-1990s, when the natural gas industry was clearing …

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