Author Archives: hessd

About hessd

Here is all you need to know to follow this blog. I am an old man and I love to think about why we say the things we do. I've taught at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and doctoral levels. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. I have taught political science for a long time and have practiced politics in and around the Oregon Legislature. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. You'll be seeing a lot about my favorite topics here. There will be religious reflections (I'm a Christian) and political reflections (I'm a Democrat) and a good deal of whimsy. I'm a dilettante.

Fathers’ Day Thoughts

I always thought that the basis of my authority over my children was that I had their welfare in mind and they did not have my welfare in mind. On the occasions when they argued with me, they found that … Continue reading

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I can’t take him anywhere

It’s a great line, but it has to be delivered just right. It is accompanied by a rolling of the eyes or a slow shaking of the head. It does some very good things when it is done right and … Continue reading

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Oregon, Their Oregon

Oregon has just revised our state song. It was filed with the Oregon Secretary of State yesterday. It doesn’t get any more official that that. The principal virtue of the new version is that it gets rid of some really … Continue reading

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An appreciative sort of partnership

I know from watching movies that the classic pickup line is, “Do you come here often?” When couples meet in the dining room of the senior center where Bette and I live, the equivalent question is, “So….how did you guys … Continue reading

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Making Policy by Hurt Feelings

Randall Kennedy, a law professor at Harvard, puts it this way in an email to Thomas Edsall of the New York Times. “Authorities… need to become much more skeptical and tough-minded when encountering the language of hurt.” Why? Here’s how … Continue reading

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But is it really therapy?

I am just about to read a news article (New York Times, June 1) about a “therapist” app named “Woebot.” I have read enough in the area that I think I have a sense of what has to be said. … Continue reading

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I and AI

Sherry Turkle’s memoir, The Empathy Diaries, was published recently and I bought it as soon as I heard about it. She has spent nearly all of her professional career studying the human-robot interaction.  She is the one who, in Alone … Continue reading

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Another Marshmallow Test

Many years ago, psychologist Walter Mischel devised a test of the ability to defer rewards. For experimental subjects, he used students at his daughter’s grade school. For rewards, he used whatever kind of treat a child might choose. Some years … Continue reading

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Really want to have a partner

I have taken a fair amount of abuse lately–abuse of the raised eyebrow kind–for a story I tell about the early courtship days with Bette. The story as I tell it, and I tell it as I remember it, has … Continue reading

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Where totalitarianism comes from

The book I am reading now has three quotes at the beginning: one by JeanCasson, a Toulouse resistance leader and poet; one by Robert F. Kennedy; and one by Hannah Arendt.  The book is about the adventures of Virginia Hall, … Continue reading

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