Abortion 2017

In 1968 I was a 17-year-old philosophy major living in the dorms at U.C. Riverside. Along with all the usual adjustments to living away from home, like eating dorm food, one incident is nearly as vivid today as it was all those years ago. One of my dorm mates became pregnant. Five years away from […]


Donald Trump is a living, walking ad for the importance of the humanities. He’s too old to have coasted through the 1960s untouched by any of its idealism and issues of social justice, but there you have it. The president exemplifies all that a successful businessman aspires to be: a single-focused, short term, ruthless champion […]

When There Was Some Compassion…

As the teenager of liberal, civic-minded parents in the mid-1960s I spent every other Saturday afternoon volunteering at Napa State Hospital. Those mornings I piled into my Dad’s Mercury with two friends and drove the 45 minutes or so to the hospital gate. Those were the days before patients had to be some version of […]

The Ghost Ship Fire

The embers were still warm the morning of December third of last year when phones lit up in law offices all over the Bay Area. The race was on to pin blame on somebody or something for the fire the night before at Oakland’s two-story Ghost Ship warehouse/turned artist cooperative, a 4,000-square-foot building full of […]


The lucky accident of our place and time has spared us the unspeakable domestic horror of watching our families and friends displaced from their homes and slaughtered as they flee for their lives. Our modern real-time communications do, however, provide an unsparing window into the close-up suffering of others while we, thankfully, have been spared […]