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Bin Laden's dead, and Obama proves an adept keeper of secrets

Say what you will about President Obama’s economic policies, but the man’s capacity for secrecy is absolutely Nixonian.

And I’m talking about real secrets here, not ludicrous claims involving Kenyan hospitals and doctored documents.

The clandestine affair that has burnished Obama’s reputation has to do with a death rather than a birth.

Specifically, it has to do with America’s pursuit of Osama bin Laden.


Will The Donald pull a Perot on the Republicans?

I’m a registered independent but I have considerable respect for the Republican Party’s electoral acumen.

The GOP, after all, has won seven of the past 12 presidential elections.

And in the past 18 years the party has amassed a level of legislative power, particularly in the House, that had eluded it for decades.

But lately I’ve begun to wonder whether the Republicans, or at least a significant percentage, are going a little soft in the head.

Free speech and lap dances: Oregon's curious Constitution

Although I rarely go anywhere unclothed, I have no particular objection to nudity.

You don’t see much of it around here anyway, what with sub-zero weather common, and a potentially carcinogenic solar index for half the year.

But though I don’t care whether people bare a little skin or a lot when they’re at home or in a public setting where children aren’t allowed, I am a trifle troubled when brazen displays of flesh are made the measuring stick, so to speak, for how well America is living up to its reputation as a bastion of freedom for the individual.

Climate changes, and so should attitude about nuclear power

I’ve just finished re-reading, for the first time in several years, one of the more frightening non-fiction books written in the 20th century.

It’s called “The Warning.”

The authors are Ira Rosen and Mike Gray.

Published in 1982, the book chronicles, in exhaustive detail, the infamous 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

A 21st century gold rush that's good for the environment?

The reality that a single ounce of any substance is worth $1,400 can exert a considerable influence on a person.

Especially when the substance in question is legal and can be peddled on the open market.

(Certain drugs have a comparable value, but dealing in them, unless you’re a licensed pharmacist, is a clandestine matter. Also, the people who get into that line of work frequently end up not with a lucrative investment but rather a long prison sentence or a bullet in the head from a short-barreled handgun.)

Gold, by contrast, has for centuries been a socially acceptable, and treasured, commodity pretty much everywhere on the globe.

An abundance of public land, but a scarcity of compromise

Scrolling through the comments posted on OregonLive.com, with the goal of sampling reasonable, respectful opinions about a complex issue — cattle grazing on public land, for instance — is akin to letting a mob of 3-year-olds decide the dinner menu and expecting a nutritious meal.

You’re going to get lots of candy and ice cream.

But very little in the way of leafy green vegetables.

In the warm glow of government wisdom, feeling a slight chill

I’m no Luddite, but my lighting fixtures are the technological equivalent of a Model T.

Incandescence illuminates the whole of my home.

Crude filaments abound, squandering precious kilowatts with each flick of a switch.

(And with a three-year-old on the premises, there is a great deal of switch-flicking.)

Facebook turns infants into instant stars

My son arrived last week, equipped with fully functioning lungs and larynx, and scarcely had I cut the cord before his tiny scrunched face was available for viewing around the world.

Or to people on Facebook, anyway.

Which amounts to the same, come to that.

The Great War's last link dies, but its legacy lingers still


Almost the whole of a century has elapsed and at last our final, feeble human link to the Great War has been cut.

The war is history, officially and irretrievably so.

The Methuselah’s name is Frank Buckles.

He died Feb. 27 at the improbable age of 110.

Buckles, who lied to a recruiter about his age to enlist in the Army in 1917 (he claimed he was 18 when he was in fact 16fi), was the last surviving American veteran of the catastrophe we now call World War I.

(That moniker, “Great War,” initially attached to the 1914-18 conflict, lost its luster, so to speak, when Hitler’s blitzkrieg pounced on Poland in 1939 and unleashed a far greater hemorrhage of both blood and treasure.)

A conventional reaction to a milestone such as Buckles’ death is to wonder whether our collective memory of the distant event will now begin to wither more rapidly.

I doubt this.

The reason is that World War I was relegated decades ago to a sort of historical purgatory — not so ancient as, say, the Peloponnesian War, but no more relevant to today’s problems than is the War of 1812.


Will Wisconsin governor snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

Public employee unions are much in the news these days, and quite a lot of the people who have something to say about unions say it with palpable passion.

I respect people who express themselves with conviction. By contrast, an opinion delivered dispassionately can be as unsatisfying as a meal of bland, ungarnished food. Boiled potatoes, for instance.


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