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.

An Exercise in Problem Solving

“Truth, Justice, and the American Way” is apparently a Superman tag line. I have heard said only for the ironic flavor it conveys. There are people who would pause thoughtfully or even cynically at “the American Way,” but who is … Continue reading

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Reading the Hard Way

There are so many reasons to like Elizabeth Bennet. In Chapter 13 of Pride and Prejudice, she faces a very tough opponent. Her prejudice. [1] She is reading a letter from a man [Darcy] who has shown only contempt for … Continue reading

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Transparency and Accountability

I have learned to shy away from expressions like “whatever it takes.” When it is dropped into a drama at just the right place and is said in just the right way by just the right person, it sounds pretty … Continue reading

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Columbus Day. Again.

I missed Columbus Day again this year. I had to go online to find out if it is still a recognized event. I’ll bet there are still come places in the U. S. that celebrate Columbus Day, possibly places where … Continue reading

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Why there is no such word as “illability.”

Some years ago, I had a discussion with my son, Doug, about the kind of seating one might want in the front seat of a car. He said he preferred bucket seats because they help maintain stability. I’m sure he … Continue reading

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Anertia

A fairly high proportion of the people who read this blog like words. Not just the efficient or elegant use of words, but also the words themselves. I understand that; I am like that myself To those people, I offer … Continue reading

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Identifying with Nicodemus

Identification—who or what you identify with—is a major determinant of how things seem to you. Everybody knows that. It would seem obvious, then, that changing “who you identify with,” would produce big changes in how you understand what you see … Continue reading

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What are school boards for?

If you look at an ordinary school district, you see the professional providers organized in the expected way. That’s what the “professional” part provides. The teachers are the subject matter experts and the de facto social workers. The administrators organize … Continue reading

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The grass withers, the flower fades…

There is an activity that characterizes every age group. There is an age when all your friends are getting married and getting jobs. There is an age when they are all having children and getting promotions. And then the one … Continue reading

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Frederick Buechner’s gift

In his column in this morning’s New York Times, David Brooks reflects on the life of Frederick Buechner, the much beloved writer who died this week. Buechner was an ordained minister and you could almost tell that from the push … Continue reading

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