Torture: the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.


This is certainly not the only place you will be reading about torture today.   With the Senate report of the events undertaken by the CIA since 9/11/01, the news media has been overwhelming with articles and commentary.   The people of this nation are either horrified by what they are reading and hearing or rushing to […]

CLERISY [KLER-uh-see]: a privileged class of people who are well-educated


  The artist, the scholar, and, in general, the clerisy wins its way up into these places, and gets represented here, somewhat on this footing of conquest.” [Ralph Waldo Emerson; Manners; 1844.] There’s a malicious side to education that nobody wants to talk about.  It has to do with the concept that most people don’t […]

PRAGMATIC : advocating behavior that is dictated more by practical consequences than by theory or dogma


My inspiration for using this word, pragmatic, comes from a NYT article about a conversation between Susan Rice, the President’s Security Advisor, and the President.   The journalist describes her response to the current Egyptian crisis as being a very pragmatic suggestion. That is to say, that the answer Ms. Rice has given the President may defy […]

SECEDE [si-SEED]: to withdraw from or abandon

The State of Texas is just one of several states suggesting that they might consider seceding from the United States.  Sound familiar?  I think we heard this in the 19th century and it resulted in the bloodiest, most devastating civil war one could imagine. It seems that some people in Texas and other states find […]

SHARIAH [shah-REE-ah]: a system of law deemed to be derived from the Koran

      A lot has been said and written about Islamic law over the past few years, some out of intelligence, some out of ignorance.  The fear of something “different” keeps some people from seeking the truth when it comes to things Islamic.  This is particularly true when dealing with the concept of Shariah, […]

OBDURATE: hard-hearted, unmoved, obstinate

People do change their minds.   Adults learn that there are times when it is appropriate to take a different tack because you have received additional information that makes your original thought inappropriate or inaccurate.  Children have to learn that, and it is the responsibility of adults to model that behavior. For children it is hard […]