Home Court

Home Court

I keep pretty good records. Somewhere in my various files and boxes of papers are copies of my publications, correspondence going back decades (back when they were actual, physical letters), papers from college and graduate school, taxes records, family documents. For all the maintenance of written records I never did keep the papers I wrote back in high school – on a manual typewriter, hunt n’ peck method, lots of white out, without regard to margins. Too bad, because when news hit Friday night of Rosh Hashanah that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, I teared up in sadness and fear and flashed back to a sophomore or junior year project I wrote for American history class on the rise of the Supreme Court. I remember the title, more or less: “How the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall Expanded Federal Powers through a Loose Interpretation of the Constitution.” It focused on three landmark decisions that came to shape and define strong federal authority: Marbury vs. Madison (1803), McCullough vs. Maryland (1819), and Gibbons vs. Ogden (1824).   Back then I was pretty geeky about American history and social studies. In between reading baseball biographies and sports history I pored through American...Read more
National Championship

National Championship

When I started this blog over five months ago (already!) I figured I could keep up a pretty good pace of columns. For better or worse, however, last week, after 33 consecutive postings I had to take a break because real work intervened. Such is the fate of a freelancer, to answer the editor’s call. Within the space of a few hours I had landed five assignments, all of them due within a week. That’s when you drop everything and focus on meeting deadlines; 7,500 words later I am relieved to say I met the test. Luckily they were all related, having to do with this week’s U.S. Open national golf championships at Winged Foot Golf Club in Westchester County, New York. The morning after those assignments arrived I made the trip down to the golf course, just over 100 miles from our house here in Northern Connecticut. As I made my rounds and interviewed the people I needed to reach – all of whom were amazingly accommodating on short notice – I kept reminding myself of the different assignments and the need to make sure I took legible notes. Too often while walking and taking I write down a...Read more

School’s Out

The 72-year old “shock rocker” Alice Cooper is now of an age group that classifies him as highly susceptible to Covid-19. That means no more rocking campuses with live concerts for the foreseeable future. The guy who made a household name for himself with the anthemic “School’s Out” (1972) has, ironically, finally foretold his own fate – and ours, at least for the while. Across the United States schools are opening up. Or trying to. Or in the case of University of North Carolina, immediately closing down and reverting to online teaching only. It’s a mess out there, with elementary school administrators, high school principals and college presidents all struggling to balance the needs of effective education with the safety of the student body, faculty and administrators. As usual, the burden for home-based instruction via social media like Zoom falls on the parents of school-age kids. Many families are being forced to juggle what amounts to overseeing home schooling with their own work lives. The financial burdens are acute. The psychological costs are in some ways even greater. This is what happens when the state – the agencies of the federal government, that is – fails in its most basic...Read more