A Personal Farewell to an American Hero

by W.D. Ehrhart Only recently did I learn that H. Bruce Franklin, the prolific scholar, cultural historian, and passionate teacher, had died back in mid-May. Aside from a June 7th obituary in the New York Times, and brief mentions on a couple of left-progressive websites, Franklin’s death went almost unnoticed by both mainstream and progressive media. The whole world paid homage when Daniel Ellsberg died eleven months earlier because Ellsberg—by stealing and revealing the infamous Pentagon Papers—had become famous: front-page top-of-the-fold headline news for months and even years. But in his own way, Bruce Franklin was equally committed to truth-telling and exposing the lies and …

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Techno-Assault & Battery

by W.D. Ehrhart Technology and I have a long and unhappy history dating back to the fall of 1970 when I took a course during my sophomore year at Swarthmore College called Engineering for Non-Majors, but popularly known as “Engine Whiz.” In those days, the computer took up the entire basement of the engineering building. You would sit in the classroom, and Professor Doby would write on the blackboard exactly the instructions you were supposed to type in. And then you would go down to the computer room and type it onto the computer punchcards. And I would do exactly as I was instructed. But …

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Entropy has been weighing on my mind and body

by Jean Stimmell “Even the words that we are speaking now, thieving time has stolen away, and nothing can return.” — Horace, Odes, 23 BC Watching my body fall apart at the age of 78, I can no longer ignore the fact that entropy is taking over. Entropy, of course, is the scientific fact that everything in the cosmos winds down, the universal reality that order inevitably turns toward disorder. As Carlo Rovelli has written in The Order of Time,⁠ 1 entropy is special: as opposed to all the other laws of the universe, time is not reversible. You can’t go backward. How well I …

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Blind Justice?

by W.D. Ehrhart Are you kidding me? Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?! I recently read this headline in today’s Washington Post: “Trump violated gag a 10th time, judge says, threatening jail.” The article goes on to say that “New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan made it clear to Trump that his 10th gag order violation—which he ruled on at the start of last Monday’s court session—was going to be the last that would result in only a fine.” Trump’s latest fine for contempt of court was $9000. Oh, ouch, agony, the pain, the pain! Let’s see: Dolt .45 would need to sell 23 pairs …

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Better Late Than Never

by W.D. Ehrhart My memoir Vietnam-Perkasie ends in the spring of 1968 with me drunk and passed out in the shower at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.  It is a fitting way to end the book because that was my mental state by the time I got back from the war.  And I stayed pretty well messed up for a long, long time thereafter. And for a long time, I felt completely alienated from the community I grew up in or the people I grew up with.  The perception was not entirely false, either.  The good folks of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, had proudly …

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It All Started at Columbia

by Jean Stimmell I need to vent about the college protests. I am beside myself, appalled at my country’s unconditional military support of Israel’s continuing slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. I have first-hand knowledge about protest and war during the Vietnam era, first as a hapless bystander, then a direct participant in the war, and afterward, as a protester against the war. And it all started at Columbia. When I started at Columbia as a freshman in 1963, it still felt like the 1950s: I had to sign a loyalty oath pledging I was a loyal American, left over from the communist hysteria during the …

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