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The New Abnormal

By Robert C. Koehler Thousand Oaks, California: a city torn apart by wildfire and gunfire. Both are unnatural disasters. “This is the new abnormal,” Gov. Jerry Brown said this week at a press conference, talking about global warming and the three voracious fires that are tearing up his state, one of them — the Camp […]

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The Issues That Won’t Go Away

By Robert C. Koehler How much real change manifested itself in the 2018 midterms? How deeply does the outcome reflect the American soul? Apparently, about 113 million Americans, basically half the electorate, felt compelled to vote in the midterms, revved up either by intense opposition to or support for Donald Trump. This is a lot […]

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Mass Murder and American History

By Robert C. Koehler “Screw your optics, I’m going in.” This is bigger than hate, this latest mass shooting, last weekend, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which, oh my God, 11 more innocent souls died at the hands of a home-grown terrorist. The president’s anti-immigrant tweets may have been in grotesque […]

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Why Do Only Some Lives Matter?

By Robert C. Koehler What would it take for everyone’s life to matter as much as Jamal Khashoggi’s? I ask this question over at the edge of the news, looking for a doorway into the human conscience. Consider: “The U.S. sold a total of $55.6 billion of weapons worldwide in the fiscal year that ended […]

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Climate Change and Collective Salvation

By Robert C. Koehler In the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, as white male privilege reclaims its desperate grip on our future, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report comes out, informing us that we haven’t got much future left in which to avoid . . . I mean implement . . . […]

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From Carswell to Kavanaugh

By Robert C. Koehler These words did in G. Harrold Carswell nearly five decades ago: “I am Southern by ancestry, birth, training, inclination, belief and practice. And I believe that segregation of the races is proper and the only practical and correct way of life in our states. I have always so believed and I […]

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The Curse of Eve

By Robert C. Koehler This is so much bigger than Brett Kavanaugh, or the outcome of his nomination. Women are suddenly opening their secret wounds. Their trauma — often many decades old — is becoming, for the first time, public. So are their tears. Enduring a sexual assault is only the beginning of the journey […]

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The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away

By Robert C. Koehler Sexual assault is such a nuisance, not only, but especially, for Republicans. Here’s the Wall Street Journal editorial board, attempting, with gentlemanly politeness, to dispense with Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh as quickly as possible: “Yet there is no way to confirm her story after 36 years, […]

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Keeping Racism Alive at the Polls

By Robert C. Koehler There’s almost no such thing as voter fraud, even though the Trump administration — and Republicans in general — affect to be so afraid of it they’ve had to develop a system guaranteed to purge voters from the rolls in enormous numbers. They’re keeping America safe! From nothing. This, you might […]

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Healing in North Lawndale

By Robert C. Koehler “This isn’t rocket science,” Jackie Ingram said, humorously downplaying her involvement in the Restorative Justice Community Court, a pilot project of the Cook County Circuit Court, which has brought a new, healing-focused system of justice to her community this past year. My thought in that moment was: She’s right. Saving kids […]

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