Homework – stop the insanity!

Thundering footsteps head towards the door. Mom shouts from the kitchen, “Have you finished your homework?” Her words echo off the slammed door. One child has escaped, but thousands more hear: “Not until you have finished your homework.” Groans rise across the Central Valley each evening as the routine begins. Homework has been around as […]

Self-sabotage: why don’t we do what’s good for us?

The experience of shooting ourselves in the foot is so familiar we can readily identify it in ourselves and others. Humorously: Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Seriously: Women who remain in abusive relationships and emasculated men who equate sensitivity with passive submission. We all sometimes do the exact opposite of what would be […]

Repairing the Military Commissions Act

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 bases its process for trying alien unlawful combatants on the better-known process for military courts martial. I have handled hundreds of criminal defense cases in state and federal courts and courts martial. Military courts martial are not the same as civilian criminal courts. Imagine you are shopping and are […]

NCLB – Is it patriotic?

We are a proud nation. We lift up our Constitution and Bill of Rights as models for the rest of the world. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Equal protection under the law. Due process. These are the principles that other nations should emulate. Freedom and Choice. The original colonies chose to form […]

Professors, publishing and perishing

Teachers in major universities know if they do not publish articles in academic journals, or write books for important publishers, they probably won’t get tenure. This often limits the amount of time that can be devoted to students. Conversely, small liberal arts colleges pride themselves on the personal attention professors give students. These places emphasize […]

Execution ends the chance for redemption Victims cannot heal

The upcoming execution date for Stanley “Tookie” Williams, a founder of the Crips street gang, has generated a lot of commentary on the subject of killing people. Some think killing people is appropriate in certain circumstances, like war and the death penalty. Others think killing is never appropriate. Both sides bolster their arguments with clippings […]

Global warming: the high cost of doing nothing

Slabs of ice cave off arctic glaciers and plunge into the ocean. Glaciers disappear from Switzerland to Montana. Record high average temperatures and more severe storms everywhere. These are but a few illustrations of the reality of global warming. Whether the earth’s climate is changing is no longer seriously debated. Scientific skeptics now largely agree […]

The Ted Haggard scandal: implications for the church

I have followed the Ted Haggard scandal closely since it broke November 2, waiting for some distance and perspective. As was predictable, we now have confirmation from the New Life Church board that “without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct,” as well as Haggard’s own confession. As a professor of contemporary Christian […]

The tragedy of slavery: it isn’t over

Slavery. The very word conjures up images of pain and suffering, oppression and subjugation, sin! More than 500,000 black Africans were kidnapped, sold like livestock and forced to perform backbreaking work. Families were torn apart as young children were removed from their parents and husbands and wives were separated. Slaves were forced to endure beating, […]

Dropouts . . . who cares?

Dropout crisis. What crisis? In California, officially, the graduation rate is 87 percent and climbing. New accountability measures like the High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) help teachers get students through to graduation. If there was a crisis, there would be extensive media coverage and politicians would be demanding action. The state and local districts have […]