Category: society

PSA disaster 40 years ago today triggered changes that make flying safer

This is one of the most difficult and painful posts I’ve written. Today is the 40th anniversary of an air disaster that changed U.S. commercial aviation forever. You’re probably not conscious of it if you don’t live on the West Coast, especially if you were not alive at the time. But it had a far-reaching... Read more »

Taking carriage horses off Chicago's streets is an idea whose time has come

If you’re like me, your heart has ached witnessing horses hauling carriages down congested Mag Mile area streets in the brutal cold of a Chicago winter night, or the scorching heat of summer, and you’ve felt helpless to do anything for these creatures. On Wednesday, September 12, at 11 a.m., the Chicago City Council Committee... Read more »

It could get easier for older job applicants to prove age discrimination

No one over the age of 40 needs to be reminded that age discrimination in the workplace is a very real problem, and even with laws in place that are supposed to protect older workers, the odds are often stacked against you when vindicating your rights in court. It is particularly difficult for older workers... Read more »
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Constitutional Writes: The gay wedding cake case

Befuddled and even a little dismayed that today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding skirted the overarching constitutional issues involved and turned instead on case-specific issues? (The Court’s majority opinion, which was not divided along ideological lines, focused on specific actions... Read more »

Loss of Tom Wolfe, Philip Roth leaves big literary shoes to fill

In the space of less than two weeks, we lost two giants in modern American literature. Both of the same generation, each groundbreaking and provocative in his own way, but at the same time very different in style and substance. Tom Wolfe, of course, was the dapper, eccentric Southern-gentleman author of such classics as The... Read more »

Tarantino's Manson movie invites more apprehension than anticipation

When I first read that director Quentin Tarantino was shooting a film centered around the 1969 Charles Manson murder rampage, I rolled my eyes. Why, Quentin, why? Tarantino, the former video store clerk turned directing genius, is one of my favorite filmmakers. But not only has this particular story been done to death (no pun... Read more »
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A way to deter mass shooters: Stop giving them recognition

These mass shootings have become tragically routine. As have the usual gun-control debates that rage in their aftermath. Now a new proposal is gaining traction, one that could be a very powerful deterrent if only the mass media would heed it. These shooters—overwhelmingly male, mostly (but not always) young, often mentally ill and/or antisocial, alienated,... Read more »

No matter how you spin it, Brendan Dassey's confession was unreliable (Part 3)

In law school, they teach us about established legal theories and landmark court decisions such as Miranda and the like, which are supposed to set the rules for the way we interact among ourselves as citizens and the way the government interacts with us. But these principles are on paper, and what’s on paper is... Read more »

Celebrating a Christmastime Birthday

My birthday is several days before Christmas. Before you go into sympathetic mode, let me preempt you. I love it. I’ve always loved it. I have never had a problem having a Christmastime birthday, even though everyone else seems to think I should. My whole life, people have kind of shaken their heads and tut-tutted... Read more »
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The shameful police interrogation of Brendan Dassey (Part 2)

(In my last post, I explained that a 4-3 Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision released Dec. 8 held that Brendan Dassey’s 2006 murder confession was admissible and upheld his conviction, reversing a federal district court ruling that had granted Dassey habeas corpus relief.) For a very long time, I was one of those who... Read more »