HIROSHIMA: THE APOLOGY ISSUE

It’s one of those acts for which history will honor the Obama’s presidency that, for a moment at least, he made Hiroshima the focus of the world’s attention. It was an appropriately solemn speech.. But, while dramatizing the horror of that bomb descending on a whole city, the president did not,, as been widely emphasized, issue an apology. We get why. It is still debated whether it was necessary to drop the bombs on the Japanese cities; but there is a debate. And there is still a tit-for-tat element to it. And indeed “tat” was horrible. The Japanese and their allies in Europe had of course started it and done unprecedentedly terrible things. Hiroshima was (in a sense) just holocaust for holocaust.

The fact is the only thing you can say is that everybody needs to apologize: that at that stage of human history we couldn’t figure out a better way. That that horrible war, with its 70 million deaths, most civilian, and unimaginable suffering; with its horrible beginnings and horrible ending was the best humankind could manage.


Walking with an added dimension

I took a walk the other day. I take a walk a lot of days, but this was different. I was walking with a couple of thousand of others in a fundraiser for Alzheimers research. It wasn’t an especially nice day for walking–the wind was blowing too hard for comfort. But it was a good […]


THE BINGE-WATCHING PHENOM

In a recent “New Yorker,” Clive James owned up to binge-watching “Game of Thrones,” a most un-”New Yorker”ish thing to do, one would think. But binge-watching is where it’s at, our new favorite thing. Suddenly a respectable thing. Everybody you meet has a new fav they are touting. Those who might have turned up their […]


WHAT THE WORD “PHONE” MEANS THESE DAYS

The word “phone” is more popular than ever, but what does it mean, now that the device the word used to refer to is all but obsolete? What does a kid of, say, under 15 years old, understand by the sound “phone” (fone? foan?) ? “Mouse” is probably more often used these days in its […]


LIE IN A HIGH PLACE

What do we make of HBO’s “Confirmation”? Seen by millions, this movie strongly suggests that Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas perjured himself in 1991 in denying the accusations of Anita Hill of sexual harassment. The story is not just of the personal disgrace for Thomas but of the national scandal that he was ever confirmed. […]


What does and doesn’t make it to Town Meeting

Town Meeting time again in Wellfleet, that seasonal punctuation mark. Being of a naively, even romantically, democratic bent I’ve always thought, without thinking a whole lot, that anything of importance to this town would get voted on by Town Meeting. I mean, that’s the whole purpose of Town Meeting government, right? To give people—all the […]


PILGRIM AND EVERSOURCE: WHAT TO DO ABOUT COMPANIES IN CONTEMPT?

Laws are codified public sentiment. They are supposed to represent what’s right. They exist to protect us. But sometimes laws don’t feel like that. Case in point: the laws that allow two local companies to act like outlaws. I’m speaking of course of Entergy and Eversource, both widely perceived to be endangering the public health […]


SHARING SPIETH’S COLLAPSE

Once in a while, a story needs to be plucked from the sports section of the newspaper and put in the general news section. Jordan Spieth has become quite well known over the last couple of years as a precocious professional golfer, perhaps the next Tiger Woods. But since last Sunday, the final day of […]


TERRORISM AND INEQUALITY

Here’s an obvious question that doesn’t get asked enough: if there were not so much economic inequality in the world would we have to worry as much about terrorism? At the Nuclear Security Summit recently concluded, Obama warned again about nukes getting in the hands of terrorists. Pretty scary. It would, as he emphasized, make […]


HHERRING RIVER RESTORATION GOES TO TOWN MEETING

The Herring River Restoration in Wellfleet, in the works for years, seems headed for its first town meeting airing. By removing a 1909 dike, the project would restore natural tidal flow to one of the largest wetlands in New England. To proponents of the project—and to judge from public comment it has few opponents– the […]