Monthly Archives: June 2017

Stomping Upon the Terra

Our people are slow to learn the wisdom of sending character instead of talent to Congress. Again and again they have sent a man of great acuteness, a fine scholar, a fine forensic orator, and some master of the brawls has crunched him up in his hands like a bit of paper.
                       – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I first saw Emil Franzi in a political science class in the early 1970s.  He was a guest speaker, covering for Conrad Joyner.  Dr. Joyner held local office, but his goal was Congress and Emil was the brawler to his scholar.  I don’t know if Dr. Joyner prepared a lesson plan, but it was a waste of time if he did.  The lesson was pure, unalloyed Franzi:  blunt, basking in the moment, bereft of political correctness.  It was the first time I saw Emil “stomp upon the terra,” to use Lord Buckley’s phrasing.  Conrad Joyner was gregarious, effervescent and entertaining.  He also wanted to be liked; that was important to him.  Suffice it to say Emil was less concerned about being liked.  While it’s accurate to describe Emil as a “scholar” because of his impressive intellect, he would have preferred “master of the brawls.”  I can’t say I liked him that first day, but I was damn sure impressed by the stomping.


The Great Global Fart

The third planet from the sun has gas.  I’m not referring to atmospheric gases or natural gas that is fracked out of bedrock.  The Earth’s gas is deep within its bowels, the consequence of a slow-moving digestion over millions of years that converts organic material to methane.  Giant pockets of methane gas lie beneath the oceans and the Arctic ice shelf.  It has quietly leaked from the ocean floor for eons and small amounts of gas have escaped the Arctic shelf.  Recently, the gas leakage in the Arctic has been increasing and the steady rise in global temperatures leading to Arctic melting may release a massive burst of methane in a catastrophic event.  It has happened before.


Teacher, Leave Them Kids Alone

Imagine the federal government decided to devote one and a quarter billion dollars a year to help state educational institutions train teachers.  These are many of the teachers who will spend time with our children, helping them learn the skills they will need to navigate the journey to adulthood.  It’s an important and challenging responsibility that not everybody can perform successfully.  They are charged with our nation’s future, one inquisitive mind at a time.  So, imagine the federal government understands the challenge and decides to help.  Would it not make sense to ensure the dollars dedicated to the process are spent wisely?