compassionDid you spend part of your Sunday thinking about the shootings in Orlando?

I’ll bet folks who attend church services heard about grief and pain.

Our Buddhist friends here in Portland addressed the murders head-on.

What would be a thoughtful response?

Blame? Sorrow? Affirming it’s them, not us?   Continue reading

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Guns? Follow the money


It’s disheartening to see media coverage of politicos punching each other verbally while using human slaughter as fodder for their own gain.

This week a group of reporters spoke with John McCain in the hallway of the Senate building, where McCain claimed President Obama was “directly responsible” for the terror attack in Orlando, according to the Washington Post.

But what wasn’t reported is that McCain received more than $7.7 million in contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA): more than any other elected representative in Washington.

Yet McCain blames Obama for the Orlando bloodbath enacted by a lone gunman who used weapons that should never be available to ordinary muggles; and most Americans agree. Continue reading

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When the Invisible becomes Visible

American Gothic, Washington, D.C., 1942

American Gothic by Gordon Parks, 1942

We found visible the invisible on our recent trip to Chicago.

An exhibit of forgotten black-and-white images by photojournalist Grant Parks is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago through August.

Parks is famous for his shots of Black denizens in American cities, especially Harlem (New York) of the 1940s and 1950s.

He shot for Life magazine at a time when millions of households across the United States welcomed the publication.

Writing for the Smithsonian, one author says that half of America’s reading public—including school-aged children—would view an issue of Life during the mid-century, making it the most popular weekly. Continue reading

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Romans, Countrymen & Graduates  


clc bw

It’s that time of year again.

That time when graduation speeches and career advice flood Tweeterville and broadcast news.

If you were queen of the universe, what would you say to the Class of 2016?

Work hard? Follow your dreams? Eat breakfast? Continue reading

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The Magician’s sleight of hand


Media Politics

 Are you perplexed by political media coverage?

I am–and I’m supposed to be an expert.

In the 1970s I fell in love with writing, journalism and politics–thunderstruck by the power of the press after seeing images of gunned-down students at Kent State and reading about Richard Nixon’s downfall at the hands of the dogged press.

When it came time to make a decision about communication or politics, I chose the offer from Cornell over Harvard, and ended up studying mass media and journalism, rather than governance.

For nearly 30 years I’ve been privileged to research framing, propaganda and media effects.

As a result I’m perplexed and saddened by coverage of presidential politics.

But I couldn’t quite pin down the reasons until my students pointed out that mainstream news today is merely a distraction.

Continue reading

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If the Buffalo is the National Mammal, is Biological Warfare the National Military Strategy?

A terrific response to the Tatonka Story this week

Memories of the People

buffalo4In an all-too-common example of revisionist history, NPR’s story of the bison becoming the “National Mammal” recounted the near-extinction of the species during American expansion while completely failing to mention that the buffalo slaughter was a deliberate military strategy in the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the Plains.  In fact, NPR even listed subsistence hunting by Indians as a contributing factor in the demise of the buffalo.

In 1868, General Sherman wrote to General Sheridan, “As long as Buffalo are up on the Republican [River] the Indians will go there. I think it would be wise to invite all the sportsmen of England and America there this fall for a Grand Buffalo hunt, and make one grand sweep of them all.”

A year later, the Army Navy Journal reported, “General Sherman remarked, in conversation the other day, that the quickest way to compel the Indians to settle down to civilized life was to send…

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Irony Attack


A full-throttle example of irony begins with a drive to visit relatives south of Portland on a beautiful spring day.

We sit and chat inside, so it is odd indeed that by twilight I discover my arms and hands have turned pink: I courted a sunburn piloting the car.

Thanks to an antibiotic I’m taking to ward off the last ravages of winter pneumonia, my skin is more sensitive to the sun—as the pill bottle’s warning label proves.

Continue reading

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