April Fools? They’ve Gotta Be Joking!

Public opinion on reparations A few days ago, with April Fools’ Day coming right up, I spotted a couple of news items I briefly thought might be nothing more than a crazy prank. If only! The items I saw were reports on discussions within the nine-member California Reparations Task Force — appointed to “study and […]

Feeling Grateful

If you’re like me, every so often you’ll find a nice graphic image in your Facebook feed, listing reasons why people like you and me should feel grateful: Because we have a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs Because our children have enough to eat Because we fall asleep in a warm […]

Shameful, Unforgivable

Desperate to flee Afghanistan Two weeks ago, just days after the Taliban seized power in Kabul, I wrote about the news from Afghanistan and Washington. Among much else, I said: It is utterly irresponsible and shameful for our highest officials in Washington to be telling the thousands of U.S. citizens still stranded in Kabul and […]

Chaos in Kabul

Kabul, August 2021 I’ve been following the news from Afghanistan and Washington. Perspective calls for a few bullets. Here are mine: • How we got into a fight with the Taliban in the first place: The Taliban had been ruling Afghanistan for five years on September 11, 2001 — the day Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda […]

Cause for Outrage

Building in Israel hit by rocket from Gaza  The world gives us much cause for outrage. Just this morning, I learned that the illegitimately “re-elected” president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, had his air traffic controllers and his MiGs force a civilian airliner from Ireland, which was crossing Belarussian airspace en route from Greece to Lithuania, […]

Heroism

Bon voyage! (Courtesy Matson Navigation Company) A few days ago I spotted a funny story on Facebook that reminded me of something a very brave man, Aba Taratuta, told me back in 1978 or thereabouts, when I was on the staff of the U.S. consulate-general in Leningrad (today again known by its original name, St. […]

The Unthinkable Happened … Now What Do We Do?

Mob invades U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021 I am appalled. We should all be appalled. But regrettably, that feeling is not universal. What am I appalled at? Two big unthinkables. Unthinkable No. 1: The mob’s assault on the U.S. Capitol. Even worse — the fact that the mob’s Cheerleader-in-Chief was the guy in the White […]

Bernie’s ‘Woke’ Fans Need Awakening

Mayor Bernie Sanders in Yaroslavl, USSR, in 1988 Now that Super Tuesday is behind us, voters in the upcoming Democratic Party primaries will have to choose between the two remaining viable candidates, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. In this post I’d like to make a small contribution to the effort to keep the nomination out […]

How to Ace a Job Interview — Part 1

Back in the spring of 1968 I had a big job interview — the oral portion of the U.S. Foreign Service exam. It was a long shot, and I was not expecting to pass. Still, I hoped I’d succeed, since work as a U.S. diplomat in embassies and consulates around the world would give me […]

Creating a ‘Newspaper’ for an Audience of One

Visualization of Soviet fighters intercepting KAL 902 I’ve begun reading a fascinating book, Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended, by Jack Matlock, who, as the U.S. ambassador in Moscow, 1987–91, had a bird’s-eye view of history in the making. I’m still in the early chapters of the book, but a few days ago […]