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Cultures

The Post – A Film Review

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January 31, 2018
The Post – A Film Review

Steven Spielberg is the quintessential Hollywood movie director. He’s often too patriotic for my liking – Saving Private Ryan comes to mind – but sometimes he chooses topics that go beyond patriotism to real cinematic studies of historic events. The Post, about the risky publication of the Pentagon Papers, is one of those. It...
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American Expansionism Under Polk – A Book Review

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January 30, 2018
American Expansionism Under Polk – A Book Review

American expansionism is an ever-present threat in many parts of the world. Wherever, the United States has chosen to impose its democracy on a country in conflict, those populations suffer horribly. One of the early examples came in the form of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, revisited in Peter Guardino’s The Dead March (Harvard,...
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A Funeral in Sweet Home – A Personal Reflection

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January 27, 2018

I attended a funeral a while ago. No one I knew. A friend of my wife’s family. A disabled woman. Fifty-three years old. In her fifty-fourth year, as we say. Fifty-three orbits round the sun and Lynette was gone. Cremated. A family memory of both loss and some relief. Lynette left several stuffed animals...
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Hands Up If You Think You Can Win a Nuclear War – A Book Review

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January 27, 2018
Hands Up If You Think You Can Win a Nuclear War – A Book Review

Hands up all those who believe that a nuclear war is winnable and that you will survive to tell your grandchildren about it. If we trust whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg’s new book The Doomsday Machine (Bloomsbury, 2017), the answer is no there would be no winner and it “would kill nearly every human on earth.”...
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Critics Misjudge Vietnam War Series – A Film Review

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January 9, 2018
Critics Misjudge Vietnam War Series – A Film Review

The other day a friend at the gym mentioned that he had been watching the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War. “I was on the wrong side,” he concluded repeating a phrase heard in the film. “We didn’t know what we were fighting for and they had everything to fight for.” Not all...
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Vietnam War Truths vs. Iraq War Propaganda

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January 9, 2018
Vietnam War Truths  vs. Iraq War Propaganda

America is a confusing place to live at the best of times, but in Trump times it gets even more puzzling. Are we really back to Cold War nuclear arms rattling? Are the top generals serious about reviving the notion of a winnable nuclear war? Are we any safer in this Twitter-riddled circus than...
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Hip Capitalist Journalism – A Book Review

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December 25, 2017
Hip Capitalist Journalism – A Book Review

I just resurfaced from reading 500 pages of a new biography on Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner. It’s called Sticky Fingers and my fingers are definitely feeling sticky. In fact, I feel icky all over after learning who Wenner has been all these years: unpleasant, greedy, boastful, untrustworthy, a cheat, and it goes on...
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Two B.C. Labour Rebels – A Book Review

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August 6, 2017
Two B.C. Labour Rebels – A Book Review

Labour activists Robert Gosden and Albert “Ginger” Goodwin are the subject of two books I reviewed in BC Studies (#194, Summer 2017). Rebel Life and Goodwin book review – p. 1-3
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Leola’s Magical Garden – A Photo Essay

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June 25, 2017
Leola’s Magical Garden – A Photo Essay

          It’s gardening season at our house and Leola has created a beautiful wonderland of flowers, fruit, and vegetables. Enjoy the video at vimeo.
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Making America Hate Again – A Commentary

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April 17, 2017
Making America Hate Again – A Commentary

The other day someone read me an internet post that said eight of the sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justices had rejected President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to fill the position vacated by Antonin Scalia, the long-running conservative on the court. I got excited. Did the judges really put the kibosh on Justice Neil Gorsuch,...
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Books